The shooting in two Christchurch mosques on Friday undoubtedly has been a worst mass shooting in New Zealand’s history. The New Zealand police arrested four people including 28 years old Australian Brenton Tarrant for this heinous crime. This mass shooting claimed at least 50 innocent lives. Nine Pakistanis also killed in the mass shooting. Tarrant alone was responsible for killing more than 40 victims, among them several children, in a rampage he live-streamed on Facebook, sending chills throughout the Muslim community, particularly Muslims living in Western countries.
The killer Tarrant’s motives and ideology based on the hatred against Muslims and immigrants. He believed in far right ideology of anti- immigrants, anti-Muslims and for white superiority. This ideology and narrative based on hatred and exclusion. The far rights groups and organisations blame immigrants and Muslims for the economic and social problems western societies are facing today. The far right fascist groups propagate that an “invasion” of Muslim immigrants is taking place on western societies which has threatened the white majority in those countries.
This propaganda is misleading and incorrect which spread lies and fake news. The killers like hardline Tarrant failed to grasp that many of the Muslim immigrants he targeted had come to New Zealand after fleeing Western-backed invasions, occupations, or persecution in their home countries. Yes economic migration does take place from developing countries to developed countries. The economic immigrants contribute in the economic development and social service.
Since 9/11 and the advent of the “War on Terror,” western mass media increasingly began to conflate Muslims and Muslim-majority nations with war, terrorism and violence in general. Indeed, 9 out of10 mainstream news reports on Muslims, Islam, and Islamic organizations are related to violence and Muslims who are named on mainstream media are all-too-frequently warlords or terrorist leaders.
This near-constant association of Islam and violence has created the false perception that the religion of Islam, by its very nature, is violent and that Muslims too must then be violent and thus dangerous. This media-driven association has had very real and troubling consequences. For instance, a 2010 study by the University of Exeter found “empirical evidence to demonstrate that assailants of Muslims are invariably motivated by a negative view of Muslims they have acquired from either mainstream or extremist nationalist reports or commentaries in the media.” In other words, Islamophobic media reports are directly related to hate crimes targeting Muslims.
This is no accident, as such biased reporting on Muslim-majority nations also began as Western-backed wars in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan sought to put these countries’ natural resources, namely their oil and mineral wealth, into the hands of American corporations. It should be no surprise then that top funders of media outlets that have routinely promoted Islamophobic narratives are also those who have profited considerably from the “War on Terror” and Western-backed regime-change wars in other countries.
This concerted effort to vilify Muslims has had the potent effect, likely by design, of reducing empathy among Westerners for the largely Muslim victims of Western military adventurism in Muslim-majority countries. Indeed, while mainstream news outlets often trumpet the imminent dangers Americans face from “radical Islamic terror,” the death toll of innocent people — most of them Muslim — that have been killed by the U.S.-led “War on Terror” is several orders of magnitude greater than the number of Americans who have died from all terror attacks over that same period.
For instance, from 2001 to 2013, an estimated 3,380 American citizens died from domestic and foreign terrorism, including the September 11 attacks as well as acts of domestic terrorism carried out by white nationalists and supremacists. If one excludes the September 11 death toll, the number of American deaths over that same period stands at around 400, most of them victims of mass-killers who were not Muslim.
By comparison, an estimated 8 million people in Muslim-majority nations died as a result of U.S. policies and wars in the Middle East and North Africa from 2001 to 2015. Yet, the magnitude of this loss of life of these “unworthy victims” is minimized by media and government silence, and the creation of a climate of Islamophobia in the West has only served to deepen the ease with which mass murder is accepted by the aggressor countries’ populations.
Beyond the staggering disparity in the death tolls caused by terror groups and Western-backed imperialist wars is the fact that many of these very Western governments that purport to be so concerned with “radical Islamic terror” have often created and funded the most notorious terror groups of all.
The role of Western money, arms and policy in the creation and maintenance of radical terrorist groups is often entirely ignored by Western media portrayals of Muslim-majority nations, thereby creating a false image that such violence is endemic to these nations when, in fact, it is often imported state-sponsored terror.
These nuances of the situation are rarely heard in the narratives parroted out on mainstream media and those who regularly consume mainstream news sources are more likely than not to support those narratives. For that reason, it is easy to see how someone like Donald Trump, who is said to watch television for 8 hour daily, much of it Fox News, has espoused the views that he has. Thanks to the manufacturing of Islamophobia of mainstream media, racist policies like the so-called “Muslim ban” have found wide support, as this false narrative has conflated Islam with violence so often that many have come to believe that only by banning Islam can violence and terrorism in the U.S. be reduced.
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17 November, 2019