The horrific terrorist attacks on two mosques in New Zealand’s city of Christchurch have prompted calls for extremist websites or sites that allow extremists to promote hate and bigotry to censor or be censored. Calls for censorship in the wake of the tragic New Zealand shooting are not only a counterproductive, albeit understandable, response to the March 15 incident. They are dangerous.
Brazen New Zealand Shooting an Act of Far-Right Supremacist
Forty-nine people were murdered, and 42 remain hospitalized after the attack, which was carried out by Australian national, and self-proclaimed fascist. The 28-year-old, without a criminal record, used two semi-automatic weapons, two shotguns, and a lever-action firearm to commit what New Zealand has recognized as an act of terrorism.
The attacker penned a 74-page manifesto, in which he referred to himself as a “racist” and an “ethno-nationalist eco-fascist.” He wrote of hatred toward Jews, Muslims, and immigrants. His political angst seemed primarily targeted toward immigrants, as he described in glowing terms his travels through Pakistan–a Muslim majority country:
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“I spent many years travelling through many, many nations. I was treated wonderfully… The varied cultures of the world greeted me with warmth and compassion.”
Social Media & Law Enforcement Double Down on Censorship
For the terrorist, it appears, warmth and compassion are only warm and compassionate in a person’s home country. Indeed, if there is an ironic twist in his horrendous acts of violence in Christchurch, he left his own sense of warmth and compassion at home, too, in rural Australia’s Grafton.