The OIC Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) condemned, in the strongest terms, the two terrorist attacks against innocent Muslims during the Friday Prayer , at Al Nour and Lindwood Mosques, in Christchurch City, New Zealand. The heinous attacks claimed the lives of 49 Muslims until now, including young children, and dozens of injuries, many of which are in a critical condition. While expressing its condolences with the bereaved families, the Commission urged the Government of New Zealand to speedily bring to justice the perpetrators of this heinous crime and take concrete measures to ensure the safety and security of all its minorities including religious groups.
These shocking terrorist attacks of mass murder are yet another sign of the rising dangers of religious hatred and intolerance in particular the growing Islamophobia. These acts also affirm the oft repeated stance of the OIC that terrorism has no link with any race or religion and international community must stand together to combat this menace at all levels. The Commission emphasized the need for an in depth scrutiny of the root causes of these attacks which are based in unfounded and stereotyped fears of minorities and migrants as well as extreme right wing populist narratives promoting identity crisis and national security fears. A testament to this is the abhorrent apologetic statement of the Australian Senator Fraser Anning, which shamelessly tries to justify this act.
IPHRC has repeatedly warned that hate speech has become an epidemic and a real danger to the global peace, the foundations of democratic order, and the values of multiculturalism in modern societies. The fact that the main suspect in this terrorist attack published a manifesto few days ago in which he explicitly declared that he was inspired by the terrorist who attacked Charleston church in 2015, is a clear proof that these attacks are fueled by right wing extremists’/populists propaganda and hate speech against minorities.
To this end, IPHRC reiterated its earlier warnings that many ultra-right wing political parties, under the garb of freedom of expression, use hate speech to demonize and promote discrimination against minorities, migrants and refugees in their countries, which eventually leads to violence against them. Accordingly, the Commission urged the need for renewed commitment at the highest level, both internationally and nationally, to combat all forms of hate speech, incitement and populist propaganda against any race, ethnic or religious group, especially migrants refugees and minorities across the world. Countering populist nationalism also requires strengthening of intellectual and cultural strategies with focus on acceptance and promotion of a democratic, egalitarian and interactive multiculturalism, it added.