Before the New Zealand mosque massacre, the Australian-born terrorist wrote a manifesto attacking immigrants “currently occupying European soil.”
Rabat – The man who carried out a terrorist attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, March 15, posted a 74-page manifesto online the same day citing Eurocentric sentiments as his motive. The attacker, Brenton Tarrant, killed 50 people.
The document, titled “The Great Replacement,” laid out the shooter’s desire to attack Muslims.
The title references a theory that migrants with higher birth rates are displacing European populations.
The terrorist lists Donald Trump, Candace Owens, a video game commentator, and Anders Breivik as his inspirations.
The attacker said he supported Trump merely “as a symbol of white identity” not as a “policy maker and leader.” The manifesto “above all” credits pro-Trump African-American commentator Candace Owens as an inspiration.
In the manifesto, the terrorist identified himself as an Australian-born, 28-year-old white man from a working-class family.
In a Facebook live-stream, the terrorist videoed himself carrying out the attack and recommended “PewDiePie,” a YouTube channel by Felix Kjellberg, a video game commentator. Before he started shooting, the attacker told his viewers to “subscribe to PewDiePie.”
Kjellberg, whose channel name reflects the sound of a bullet and death, is particularly known for making “edgy jokes [that] normalise racism,” according to the Independent.
The shooter also explained that he was inspired by Anders Breivik, saying he was a main catalyst for the terror attack. The far-right terrorist shot 77 people dead in Norway in 2011.
Aside from extremist views, both attackers shared some commonalities in having their parents divorce and receiving extensive physical training.
According to the manifesto, two events in France and Sweden radicalized the Australian. One was the 2017 electoral loss of French right-wing leader Marine Le Pen in France. The second was the death of Ebba Akerlund, 11, in a vehicle-ramming attack in Sweden the same year.
By 2018, the attacker had visited Turkey, parts of Eastern Europe, and the Balkans, ending a series of travels that started shortly after his father’s death. In the Facebook live video of the Christchurch massacre, the attacker played a song that glorifies Radovan Karadzic, a Bosnian Serb former politician who will be in court this week in a final appeal, facing jail time over war crimes at Srebrenica.
According to the manifesto, the terror attack was an instrument to “divide … Europeans and the invaders currently occupying European soil.”
A focus on birth rates and ‘white genocide’
The document starts with “Do not go gentle into that good night,” from a poem by the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, and goes on in length about race and birth rates.
In the introduction, the text reads: “It’s the birthrates [sic]” and “If there is one thing I want you to remember from these writings, [it’s] that the [birth rates] must change.”
The attacker concludes the introduction by saying the high fertility rate among migrants will result in “white genocide.”
For another 69 pages, the manifesto continues under the title “Answering possible questions.” The attacker raises and answers many questions about himself.
He also inserted links to Wikipedia articles as “arguments” supporting his views on migration and birth rates.
In the “conclusion,” the attacker returned again to “birth rates” as a resolution for the “conflict.”
He concluded with a poem about overcoming hardships, written by the 19th-century English poet William Ernest Henley while in a hospital. Titled, “Invictus,” Latin for “undefeated,” the poem ends with the famous lines: “I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.”
The attacker signed off with, “Goodbye, god bless you all and I will see you in Valhalla. EUROPA RISES.” In northern European mythology, “Valhalla” refers to the “hall of the slain,” where those who have died in combat go in the afterlife.
Is change of heart possible?
Coincidently, the week of the attack, American political commentator Tucker Carlson came under fire for attacking Muslims and other minorities, after Media Matters published transcripts from his appearances on radio from 2006 to 2011. “I’m going to kill as many [Muslims] as I can if you elect me,” he imagined his ideal president as saying, in one transcript.
In 2018, Carlson criticized President Trump for failing to achieve his electoral promises. Then, American online outlet the Daily Beast said Carlson uses “the rhetoric of… ‘white genocide,’” which equates immigrants to “invaders.”
Following the Christchurch attack, one former hate group member told CNN about what he thought “motivated” the massacre. “Fear,” said Frank Meeink. The attacker thought he was a “warrior,” Meeink added.
When asked if he thought a change of mind was possible, Meeink said “Anyone can change their mind.” He noted that he could not watch the video of the attack because he had “empathy” for the Muslim people in his life.