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THE BIG IDEA: The white supremacist who livestreamed his Friday rampage at a New Zealand mosque posted a manifesto online that said the attack was partly inspired by Dylann Roof’s 2015 massacre of nine black churchgoers in South Carolina, police said.
Globalization has had positive impacts, but it’s also empowered evildoers. Today’s terrorism underscores how much the contagion of white nationalism has spread internationally. Christchurch, New Zealand, is 8,545 miles from Charleston, S.C., but social media helps make the world more interconnected than ever. In this case, 21st-century technologies fostered kinship between people across borders and oceans over their shared hatred of Muslims and immigrants.
At least 49 people are dead and an additional 48 patients are being treated at hospitals after two separate mosques were hit during Friday prayers. Authorities say 41 were killed at the Al Noor Mosque across the street from a downtown park, and seven more were fatally shot at a suburban mosque in Linwood. The cops announced that three people are in custody who they believe were involved in the violence. Police deactivated an improvised explosive device that was attached to one of the vehicles used by the suspects.
Investigators have confirmed that the same man who streamed 17 minutes of footage of himself opening fire at the downtown mosque from a helmet camera also published a 74-page manifesto that mentioned Roof. “In the manifesto, the purported shooter identified himself as a 28-year-old white man born in Australia,” Isaac Stanley-Becker reports. “He described his motivation, which he said involved defending ‘our lands’ from ‘invaders’ and ensuring ‘a future for white children.’ … Its title, ‘The Great Replacement,’ echoes the rallying cry of, among others, the torch-bearing protesters who marched in Charlottesville in 2017.
“He aimed to ‘directly reduce immigration rates,’ he said, explaining that he had chosen to target New Zealand to illustrate that there was nowhere ‘left to go that was safe and free from mass immigration.’ In a country of nearly 5 million, more than 46,000 residents are Muslim, according to data from the 2013 census, up 28 percent from 2006.
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“Before the attack, someone with apparently advance knowledge of unfolding events posted links on Twitter and the message board 8chan to the manifesto, as well as to a Facebook page where the individual promised that the attack would be streamed live. The Twitter posts included images of weapons and ammunition, as well as the names of perpetrators of past mass-casualty shootings.”