In a terrible shooting in New Zealand, a shooter killed 49 people in Christchurch by going into mosques with a gun and shooting at whoever was around. Seven died at Linwood Islamic Center, 41 at mosque near Hagley Park. The shooter identified himself as Brenton Tarrant, 28, of Australia while live streaming his shooting spree.
New Zealand Shooter's Killing Spree in Context of the Global Ideological Rumblings - lets look at the shooting in the larger context of the ideological battle being waged globally #NewZealandShooting Click To Tweet
The New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has called it one of the darkest days in New Zealand.
Beyond the mental state and the indoctrination of the shooter, we need to look at what is going in the world and specifically in New Zealand to fully understand why such an act would even crop up in that society, which per Pew Studies had the least social hostility when it comes to religion?
Clash of Civilizations across the West
Let us look at things the way they are. Islam and Christianity are two evangelical faiths. They have been and are very fanatic when it comes to the faithful and the faithful can believe in anything if it comes from the “right source” with the “right citation” and based on that they are willing to do anything.
And, over the centuries, both the groups have learnt the art of camouflaging and double-speak to hide the intentions, fanaticism and real motives. While on the surface, the spoken word seems harmless, but with the right context, it takes on a whole new meaning.
This was necessitated for each of the groups to “move in” for the “kill” while looking harmless.
And now, as the Islamic population increases in the West – due to immigration and refugees – the tensions between the two militaristic and evangelical faiths is all too apparent.
Why is the battle Primarily between Islam and Christianity?
The question that will obviously arise is why are we looking at only these two faiths in the civilizational battle and not others. That is because, these two, apart from being virulent and evangelistic, have also defined themselves in exclusive terms. There is a claim of exclusivity in both the ideologies. While one’s kalma states that “there is no god but Allah and Mohammad is his only prophet”, the other’s creed claims that “Jesus is the ONLY savior”. And this lends itself to a level of self delusion that has not even tolerated the rightful existence of those who were inclusive. Even those faiths and groups – like the Pagans, as seen in these two quotes from 532 AD – which accepted Christianity’s right to exist. So when these two exclusivity promoting evangelists group come face to face, in terms of civilizational clash, with their numbers challenging each other’s dominance, battles are bound to break out globally. Not militarily perhaps (and hopefully), but ideologically certainly.
Demographic change and the Ideological Battle
To ignore the obvious “battle of the mental space” would be a big mistake. Samuel Huntington had called it the “Clash of Civilizations”. And that is what it is.
Here is how the growth of the different religions is predicted by the Pew Study “The Future of World Religions“.
And the growth of the different religions for the period up till 2050 can be seen in this table.
Within the next 100 years Muslims are projected to outnumber the Christians in the world.
How is the situation of religious population change in New Zealand?
Well, the Muslims are increasing at a very rapid pace in that society and they are making their presence felt in many different ways.
Muslims made up about 1.1 percent of New Zealand’s population of 4.25 million people in census figures published in 2013 (the 2019 census has been delayed), and the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand lists 57 mosques and other Muslim centers across the country.
But the Muslim population has been growing rapidly — having risen by 28 percent since 2006, to 46,149 — and it is expected to have more than doubled to as many as 100,000 by 2030, according to research published in 2017 in The Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs.
Obviously, for the White Nationalists, this trend would not have gone unnoticed. In fact, if you see his overarching theme in the manifesto, it seems he was obsessed by the overall Muslims vs Christian battle. He constantly refers to his actions in terms of crusades.
He was impacted by what is happening in Europe. How the Muslims, after moving to the Western world are challenging the value system of the West is a big flash point. Both the groups are masters at obfuscation and creating appealing and false narratives. So for someone who is out trying to find the truth in anyone’s narrative will have a tough time.
Hate Speech by Islamic Clerics and Organizations and Normalizing it by Muslims
Worse than someone making a hate speech is the entire population of the faithful trying to normalize it. Let us look at some examples.
Here is a speech made at mosque in Pakuranga, Auckland, which promotes Holocaust denial (12.22 ) and calls for the destruction of Israel. In this June 2017 video, diplomat and counsellor at the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran in New Zealand, Mr Hormoz Ghahremani is talking, apart from an Iranian cleric, Sheik Shafie, and a New Zealand Muslim leader, Sayed Taghi Derhami.
Ghahremani was not the first or the only one to make such a hate speech and go scott free after seeding his hate-filled anti-semitic ideas into the faithfuls.
IN another speech in Manukau mosque in New Zealand, a Muslim cleric – who also happened to be secretary of the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand – delivered another hate speech where he went after the Jews and spoke offensively against women in November 2016.
Dr Mohammad Anwar Sahib’s comments, which were delivered at the At-Taqwa mosque in Manukau and subsequently posted online, took aim at Jews and gender relations.
“Christians are using the Jews, and the Jews are using everybody, because they think that their protocol is to rule the entire world,” he said in a sermon filmed in November.
He also referred to Jewish community as “the enemy of Muslims”, and has been filmed making offensive remarks about women.
And, all that the President of the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand (FIANZ) Hazim Arafeh was that “The honourable minister made a mistake.”
That was all that a hate speech in New Zealand’s mosques could garner from the community leaders. A “mistake”.
Now, the same Islamic federation which purports to be the voice of Muslims in New Zealand, had invited two clerics who were booked in Britain for their hate speech. Philip had also argued in one of his speeches in Britain that it was “permissible to marry off a nine-year-old girl because the Prophet Muhammad had done so”.
Two Muslim clerics invited to give speeches in New Zealand have been accused of promoting hate speech in Britain against gays, women and other religions.
Sheikh Khalid Yasin and Islamic scholar Bilal Phillips were last month shown in a documentary on Britain’s Channel 4 allegedly inciting hatred at a British mosque. The Press reported today that Yasin was invited to speak in Christchurch in May 2005 as a guest of the Muslim Association of Canterbury.
Phillips toured the country last year giving lectures as a guest of the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand (Fianz).Fianz said yesterday it would not invite such clerics in future, while the Canterbury association said Yasin was a kind, tolerant person and would have him back. In the British documentary, Yasin predicted that Jews would be exterminated on the Day of Judgment.
Do you see the double-speak in this whole episode from 2007? You see, the words in the mosque – amongst the faithful and the words for public consumption are very carefully calibrated. They have no relationship to each other and yet are spoken by the same person.
And all this was happening in a country, which as per Pew study on religious restrictions in different countries had the least social hostilities and government restrictions in terms of religion (New Zealand is shown in red)!
In a country, where religious freedom was one of the highest, the collective Muslim organizations have not just been invited people who unleash hate speech, but even call those kind of bigots as “kind and tolerant”.
Sure, the New Zealand shooter who killed 49 in a mosque was turned into an extremist by the various extreme right-wing White nationalist voices on the internet. But think of it – were not the ripples in the fabric of the society already sown by the Muslims collectively?
It is time to wake up.
Wake up to the new religious battle being fought in the minds of the most virulent, hate-filled, and evangelical religious ideologies that have – in many minds and organizations – the Domination of the world as their ideological agenda.
When will we start looking at things the way they are and address the root cause of the bullet being shot?