#FraserAnning: Australian senator blames ‘immigration’ for New Zealand mosque attacks

When the Islamic State went on a deadly rampage across Europe in 2015 and 2016, the group’s sympathizers never shied away from defending the killing of people they said were “infidels.” By living in Western societies, they argued, Westerners were by default reasonable targets.

On Friday, following a devastating attack at two mosques in the city of Christchurch, New Zealand, an Australian senator proved that some far-right ideologues’ justifications can sound harrowingly similar when Muslims are the victims. Muslims, said Fraser Anning, a far-right independent senator from Queensland, “may have been the victims today; usually they are the perpetrators.”

Anning said he is “utterly opposed to any form of violence” and condemned the actions.


Hamzah Noor Yahaya, a survivor of the shooting at Al Noor Mosque, waits for his ride outside a hospital in Christchurch, New Zealand, at the end of a lockdown March 15. (Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images)

While Anning did not explicitly say so, his comments implied that Muslims bore some responsibility for Friday’s shootings because of the actions of Muslims elsewhere.

“The real cause of bloodshed on New Zealand streets today is the immigration program which allowed Muslim fanatics to migrate to New Zealand in the first place,” Anning said in a written statement.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison rushed to condemn Anning’s statement, writing on Twitter that “remarks by Senator Fraser Anning blaming the murderous attacks by a violent, right-wing, extremist terrorist in New Zealand on immigration are disgusting. Those views have no place in Australia, let alone the Australian Parliament.”

“New Zealand, like Australia, is home to people from all faiths, cultures and backgrounds. There is absolutely no place in either of our countries for the hatred and intolerance that has bred this extremist, terrorist violence and we condemn it,” Morrison continued.