Statement on Christchurch Mosque Attacks

Statement on Christchurch Mosque Attacks

The SEARCH Foundation expresses its condolences and solidarity with everyone affected by the attack on Muslims at Christchurch mosques on 15 March 2019.

The rise of far-right extremism, white supremacism, fascism and Nazism is a global phenomenon. It must be fought and defeated, as it has been before, by global solidarity. These egregious acts of violence demand a concerted national and international response.

Governments, political movements and civil society should be united and resolute in acting to prevent future attacks. Muslims in Australia and New Zealand need to be made safe, and must feel safe, from Islamaphobic and racist violence.

There can no longer be any complacency about the serious nature of this right-wing terrorist threat. There should be no more excuses for hate-mongering politicians or pundits. Words and discourses alone do not cause right-wing terrorism, but thoughts precede deeds, and the spread of racist, fascist thought is being aided by too many who otherwise claim a veneer of respectability in our media and political spheres. The free pass that many of these supposedly respectable figures have been getting must end.

It is more important than ever that the community as a whole reaffirms the right of all people to live in peace and peacefully worship however they wish.

But we must go beyond words. Individuals and communities of all faiths and none need to be given the wherewithal to create and sustain security for themselves. As Black American radical Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael) said “If a white man wants to lynch me, that’s his problem. If he’s got the power to lynch me, that’s my problem. Racism is not a question of attitude; it’s a question of power”.

We must economically and socially empower working people. Almost four decades of global ‘free market’ economics has created huge inequality, social stress and a sense of chronic crisis which has been used by the far right to resuscitate itself after the enormous damage it caused in the mid-20th century. We have to use all our democratic tools to reverse this now, before it is too late.

To protect us from right-wing, white-supremacist terror, we cannot rely only on a capitalist state that has too often been complicit in such violence, or failed to see it as the threat that it clearly is. History shows that in Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand, the greatest terrorist threat has consistently come from extreme nationalist right-wingers, white supremacists, fascists and Nazis. For example, in the early 1970s, Ustasi terrorists set off a series of bombs at Yugoslav offices in Sydney, motivating Attorney-General Lionel Murphy's raid on ASIO in 1973. This exposed a policy of official but covert support for right-wing terrorism in Australia. Security agencies tasked with protecting the community have too often failed to recognise and act on the threat from far-right terrorists, and the politicians responsible for those agencies must be held accountable for that failure.

However, with the tragedy of these killings in Christchurch so recent, the most important and appropriate thing at this time is for the community to come together in solidarity. We urge, therefore, friends and comrades to attend and support the observances being held around Australia in the coming days.

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