[Bryan] Fischer [of the American Family Association] declared that those responsible for the attack should be tried and publicly executed, but noted that “vigilante justice” like this is almost inevitable because governments are not taking adequate steps to eliminate the threat posed by Islam.
“One of the things that happens to guys like this is, if they’ve got some loose wiring to begin with and they see that their government is not doing what is necessary to protect them—whether it is from illegal aliens, whether it is from jihadis, whether it’s from vengeful Muslims—if they see that their government is not doing their jobs to promote justice, to carry out justice, to protect national security, then they’re going to start thinking, ‘Well, I can’t count on the government to do it, so I’m going to have to take things into my own hands,’” Fischer said. “That’s where you get vigilante justice … and, unfortunately, I think we saw a case of that today in New Zealand.”
Vigilante justice? There was no rash of Islamic terrorism in New Zealand. And even if there had been, since when is killing children justice? I have no words for how despicable this is.
I’m reminded of cases where individuals who have murdered abortion clinic doctors and employees. In either case—murders of abortion clinic doctors and last week’s massacre in New Zealand—right-wing propaganda plays an important role. Call abortion murder enough times, and someone will take up a weapon and try to stop it; claim that Muslims are dangerous violent killers loudly enough and someone will take up arms and kill to assuage the alleged threat.
In countries like the United States and New Zealand, the right-wing has far more in common with Islamic extremism than its members realize. In each case, there is an utter demonization and othering of one’s opponents; in each case, the world is painted as being in the midst of a great conflict of civilizations; in each case, one must win—or one will lose. There is no coexistence.Words have consequences.
In the U.S., we exist in a world where a mass shooting is far more likely to be perpetrated by a male white supremacist, a white male “incel” terrorist, or a white male on a shooting spree than by Islamic extremists. And yet from the rhetoric on the right-wing, you would never know that.
There was a see, we told you this would happen when you opened the door to Muslim immigration element to some of the right-wing response to last week’s shooting in New Zealand. And it wasn’t always covert. But the shooter was not a Muslim. The shooter was a white supremacist.
I recently heard a report from the small Midwestern college town that I called home for many years that white supremacist groups there are recruiting white teenage males outside of businesses. Radicalization is real. We’ve long urged Muslims to work against the radicalization of their youth; it’s time for us to watch for and counter the radicalization of our own youth.
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