Tragedy struck in New Zealand this week when 50 people were killed in mass shootings at two mosques full of worshippers in the city of Christchurch.
The shooter, an Australian white supremacist, was arrested and charged with murder, and New Zealand's media called these atrocities what they are: terrorist attacks.
But many, including U.S. President Donald Trump, have pushed back against the "white supremacist" label even though the shooter published a manifesto online that espouses white nationalist and anti-Muslim rhetoric.
In a powerful Twitter thread, New York Times contributor Wajahat Ali explained rather succinctly how the white nationalist ideology cultivates tragedy once adopted by "angry, disaffected men."
"If the shooter's manifesto and social media feed are accurate, he was inspired by a right wing ideological infrastructure that thrives, recruits and radicalizes online," he began.
Let me quickly explain why the Christchurch mosque shooting affects many of us, not just Muslim communities. If the… https://t.co/ntYV1bd9c7— Wajahat Ali (@Wajahat Ali) 1552623351.0
As Ali points out, the shooter was inspired by Anders Breivik, the Norwegian mass murderer who in 2012 was convicted of mass murder, causing a fatal explosion and terrorism in attacks that killed 77 people.
He wrote a manifesto, just like Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik. He cites right wing personalities and milit… https://t.co/HE7CSBuycV— Wajahat Ali (@Wajahat Ali) 1552623431.0
Like mass murderer Breivik, he wants to punish Muslims and immigrants for allegedly invading his soil, he wants to… https://t.co/P9zTYGWx3g— Wajahat Ali (@Wajahat Ali) 1552623505.0
Much like Breivik and other white nationalists, the shooter cast himself as "a hero, a martyr, the one brave enough to do what others can't to save 'Western' civilization":
He left behind a video, live streamed his rampage w/ a camera on his head, making it like first person video game D… https://t.co/5aqhBqpnzX— Wajahat Ali (@Wajahat Ali) 1552623601.0
The shooter's modus operandi also bears similarities to that of Alexandre Bissonnette, the Quebec mosque shooter who killed six people last year...
Compare his methods & alleged ideology to Quebec mosque shooter Alexandre Bissonnette, who killed 6. He was a white… https://t.co/6QIDwzx2Vx— Wajahat Ali (@Wajahat Ali) 1552623759.0
...as well as the white supremacist who killed 11 Jewish worshippers at the Tree of Life Synagogue shooter in 2018 who sought to punish "filthy evil Jews" for bringing in "filthy evil Muslims."
Compare this to the Tree of Life Synagogue shooter in Pittsburgh. He killed 11 Jewish worshippers. He shared a post… https://t.co/t1xKLrSr0O— Wajahat Ali (@Wajahat Ali) 1552623839.0
Ali then makes a salient point when he says that "the underlining ideology anchoring all of this is White supremacy and their main fear is 'replacement."
This is a mantra parroted by Iowa Congressman Steve King...
The underlining ideology anchoring all of this is White supremacy and their main fear is "replacement." That the im… https://t.co/Xiwf4eva8Z— Wajahat Ali (@Wajahat Ali) 1552623930.0
...as well as President Trump's former chief adviser Steve Bannon.
Steve Bannon, Trump's former chief advisor, cites CAMP OF SAINTS as one of his favorite books. He recommends it. It… https://t.co/bZOc6NnNk9— Wajahat Ali (@Wajahat Ali) 1552624024.0
"We are dealing with angry, disaffected men, mostly White, who find purpose & community with these extremist groups who give them a hero's narrative through violent ideology of White supremacy," Ali says.
We are dealing with angry, disaffected men, mostly White, who find purpose & community with these extremist groups… https://t.co/TNldK6LhqC— Wajahat Ali (@Wajahat Ali) 1552624124.0
The victims are not just Muslims, but also Jews, immigrants, refugees, Blacks, Sikhs, Latinos & women (they really… https://t.co/cujVB67huk— Wajahat Ali (@Wajahat Ali) 1552624251.0
Ali concludes his remarks by reminding us to "Take this extremist ideology and terror threat seriously."
"Look out for each other," he says. "Love each other."
Pay attention. Take this extremist ideology & terror threat seriously. Be wary of politicians, academics & media he… https://t.co/RVwDYZeyyZ— Wajahat Ali (@Wajahat Ali) 1552624392.0
Ali's thread struck a chord with many who've been affected by the news.
@WajahatAli Thank you for these insightful tweets. I am an American living in Christchurch. When the mosque was spr… https://t.co/KBQZkCdVJ7— Scott Fack (@Scott Fack) 1552627419.0
@WajahatAli We are living through a clash of ignorance while the media, politicians etc. Want to make it out to be… https://t.co/zQ1J6U4sE7— Riz (@Riz) 1552624726.0
@WajahatAli @OccupyWallStNYC We are in so much shock in our welcoming little island in the Pacific. We are asking w… https://t.co/YtY4NYARQZ— Greeneyedkiwi (@Greeneyedkiwi) 1552652147.0
@WajahatAli @doctor_oxford Read all the threads. The warnings and predictions fill me with fear. There is a deep r… https://t.co/f3nbpkfsXA— Jennifer (@Jennifer) 1552631925.0
@WajahatAli The people targeted and killed were New Zealanders so this hurts us all. But they were killed because o… https://t.co/4dqm00xLBh— Steph Dyhrberg (@Steph Dyhrberg) 1552724343.0
@WajahatAli The answer should be as simple as the fact that we're all human beings. Violence against one is violenc… https://t.co/3p3FOZl4sl— Katie Z (@Katie Z) 1552632849.0
Shortly after the attacks, New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the attacks represented "an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence."
"It is clear that this can now only be described as a terrorist attack," Ardern said.
Ardern later took to Twitter to remind citizens that "many of those affected" are members of the nation's migrant communities.
"New Zealand is their home – they are us," she said.
What has happened in Christchurch is an extraordinary act of unprecedented violence. It has no place in New Zealand… https://t.co/XOHF9hHe8H— Jacinda Ardern (@Jacinda Ardern) 1552620782.0
It's really that simple.