London – Our deepest condolences and prayers go out to the families of the deceased loved ones, and the community at large in Christchurch, New Zealand, who will be mourning the death of 49 men, women and children in a callous, calculated and premeditated attack by individuals with deep hatred in their hearts.

This is a moment for politicians and leaders to stop and reflect over decades of policy making under the guise of the ‘War on Terror’, whose actions and policies are premised upon the mass demonisation of Muslims, including treating them as a fifth column within the nations of their birth.

It is incorrect to narrow this down to a fringe group. Much of the rhetoric on which the perpetrator of this attack has relied, is mainstream in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, the USA and the West at large.

Individuals allied to think tanks that are in close proximity to the corridors of power, such as the Henry Jackson Society, have openly advocated for ‘less Islam’ and ‘making conditions for Muslims harder across the board’.

These attacks are logical end point of these calls and the language and rationale used in the killers manifesto  – depicting Muslims as ‘invaders’ and ‘terrorists’ – is reminiscent of many of the messages spewed by such individuals and institutes.

The War on Terror manifested as hot bloody wars abroad, and cold wars at home, demonising Muslims and their beliefs has lead to this inevitable outcome. The rise of racism, white supremacy, Islamophobia, hatred and anti immigrant sentiments are intimately tied to this.

Moazzam Begg Outreach Director for CAGE said:

“Anti Muslim sentiment is not confined to the far-right but lives in the respectable halls of parliament, press rooms and academia. The violence meted out against peaceful worshippers today is generated from the neo-con playbook of alienating Muslims and stoking anti-immigrant sentiments. New Zealand is yet another signpost of the brutality unleashed.”

“Our work is all about ending cycles of violence. Currently this cycle is spiraling out of control and our politicians are stoking these tensions and inciting white supremacist nativist thought while refusing to acknowledge the lasting damage to social cohesion, economy and most importantly security for all citizens that their warped narratives will inevitably have. The attacks in New Zealand are a horrifying manifestation of it.”

(NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.)