In less than five minutes, the prominent Australian broadcaster Waleed Aly, a practicing Muslim, connected the New Zealand mosque shootings to a worldwide continuum of hate and violence driven by a global political climate pitting religious and ethnic groups against one another.
On his show, The Project, he said the attacks in Christchurch that killed at least 49 people cannot be addressed in a vacuum.
“Of all the things that I could say tonight—that I am gutted, that I am scared, and that I am filled with utter hopelessness—the most dishonest thing, the most dishonest thing would be to say that I am shocked,” Aly said. “I’m simply not. There’s nothing about what happened in Christchurch today that shocks me.”
Aly went on to list attacks in recent years in places of worship—targeting Muslims in mosques in Quebec City and London, Jews in a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Christians in a church in Charleston, South Carolina—saying that this kind of violence has come to be expected in a climate of hate that many political leaders build up and manipulate rather than stop.
Aly read off a series of Islamophobic, xenophobic and anti-immigration quotes—for instance: “The truth is that Islam is not like any other faith. It is the religious equivalent of fascism”—that would fit into the white-supremacist rantings in the attacker’s online screed. Those words were actually written by a far-right Australian member of parliament after the attacks. Aly also reminds the audience that the current prime minister, Scott Morrison, has used anti-Muslim rhetoric as a political strategy to rise to power. (Aly notes Morrison has condemned the mosque shootings and did not hesitate to call the attacks terrorism.)
The broadcaster’s analysis concludes with a heartfelt reminder that anything individuals do to fuel the fire of hate makes them responsible for the tragedy generated: “Everything we say to try to tear people apart, demonize particular groups, set them against each other, that all has consequences, even if we are not the ones with our fingers on the trigger.”
Watch the full speech here: