New Zealand terror attacks incited by rampant mainstream Islamophobia

Islamic Human Rights Commission

15 March 2019

PRESS RELEASE

The horrific terrorist attacks on innocent worshippers in two New Zealand mosques this morning is the inevitable outcome of the rampant Islamophobia that has been whipped up globally by politicians, far right activists and the media.

Whether it is Tommy Robinson, Boris Johnson, Donald Trump or the Daily Mail, together they have created an environment of hate in which anti-Muslim rhetoric flourishes and in many cases incites people to commit acts of violence.

Indeed Islamophobia has become so normalised in western societies that politicians and pundits increasingly use it as a dog whistle to woo supporters.

There is no doubt that the far right has been emboldened by this climate. Today’s attacks are a natural consequence of the accelerated demonisation of Muslims and Islam over the last two decades which serves the purpose of otherising Muslims so that they can be officially discriminated against with impunity. It also serves to delegitimise Muslim struggles in Palestine and elsewhere.

There is nothing except scale that distinguishes today’s terrorist attack from the one carried out in London by Darren Osborne on 19 June, 2017 when he rammed his van into a crowd of Muslims leaving a mosque after communal prayers. Both were incited and radicalised by the cheerleaders of hate that are allowed free rein to peddle their poison online and indeed given mainstream media platforms.

An IHRC report on Islamophobia in 2015 warned of the consequences of the rising tide of Islamophobia. “Environment of Hate: The New Normal for Muslims in the UK” shows how the Muslim minority becomes victim to the social attitudes of the majority – learned through government policy and the media they consume – and this is then expressed in acts of hatred, hostility and violence.

The report is available here: https://www.ihrc.org.uk/publications/reports/11559-environment-of-hate-the-new-normal-for-muslims-in-the-uk/

For more information or comment please contact the Press Office on (+44) 20 8904 4222 or (+44) 7958 607475[ENDS]

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IHRC is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.
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