Dear IRR News subscriber,
This has been a devastating week, with the massacre of fifty Muslim worshippers and the injuring of fifty more at the Al Noor mosque and Linwood Islamic Centre in Christchurch, New Zealand. In a nationwide and inter-cultural response that has been heart-rending, New Zealanders have performed the traditional ceremonial Maori ‘Haka’ mourning dance, even as mosque workers worked night and day to repair the destruction. The sensibilities of students who flocked to candlelit vigils, and prime minister Jacinda Ardern’s tireless efforts to comfort the bereaved, have all been noted.
Meanwhile, these events 12,000 miles away, have had reverberations in the UK. In addition to our regular bi-weekly calendar on racism and resistance (view here), we provide a round-up of the most important Christchurch-related developments in the UK, where there have been many opportunistic attacks on Muslims, Muslim religious centres and worshippers. And we also draw attention to the European dimension, as debate about media ethics and responsibility has erupted since Christchurch.
In a comment piece for IRR News, Liz Fekete, who has previously written on Anders Behring Breivik and the Oslo massacre, asks what facilitated the Christchurch terrorist’s journey though hate? She identifies a coterie of French New Right intellectuals, who have made racism respectable under cover of cultural critique, and the context of war as two factors that cannot be left out of any reckoning. An analysis of the suspect’s manifesto finds it saturated with ‘counter-jihadist’ and Islamophobic ‘enemy images’ and his obsession with war needs to be cause for reflection about the recent cultural impact on Europe of eighteen years of war in the Middle East, she writes.
Finally, we publish an obituary by Virou Srilangarajah who remembers the tireless human rights campaigning of Tamil activist and organiser V. Varadakumar, who sadly died last week.
IRR News Team