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Demonising People, Setting Them Against Each Other Has Consequences: Anchor Waleed Aly In a Heartbreaking Video Which Has Gone Viral

“The thing that scared me most was when I started reading the manifesto that one of the apparent perpetrators of this attack published, not because it was deranged but because it was so familiar.”

Australian writer, academic, lawyer and media presenter on Network Ten‘s news program “The Project” Waleed Aly, on Friday, spoke about the mass shootings at the two mosques in Christchurch.

On March 15, an armed Australian man targetted two mosques in the coastal town of Christchurch in New Zealand — the Al Noor Mosque in the centre of the city and Linwood Mosque, roughly five kilometres away. What makes this tragedy more horrific is that this hate crime was streamed live on the internet, recorded from what seems to be a helmet camera. Before the shooting, the gunman also posted links to a decidedly “white nationalist” manifesto on Twitter and 8chan — an online forum known for right-wing discussions — which included a link to his Facebook page, where he said he would also broadcast live video of the attack.

In his poignant monologue, Aly grieved that even though he was “gutted and scared,” he was “not shocked.”

In the clip has been shared tens of thousands of times, the 40-year-old presenter said he was not shocked because if one looks at terrorist attacks in the past honestly, they would know that this “was coming.” He said, “I wasn’t shocked when six people were shot to death at a mosque in Quebec City two years ago. I wasn’t shocked when a man drove a van into Finsbury Park mosque in London about six months later, and I wasn’t shocked when 11 Jews were shot dead in a Pittsburgh synagogue late last year or when nine Christians were killed at a church in Charleston. If we’re honest, we’ll know this has been coming.”

Waleed on the Christchurch Terrorist Attacks

“You’ll have to forgive me, these won’t be my best words…”On this heartbreaking day, Waleed reflects and calls for unity______________Update: Scott Morrison's office has contacted The Project to deny the 2011 report on comments he has alleged to have made within a shadow cabinet meeting

Posted by The Project on Friday, March 15, 2019

A visibly disturbed Aly mentioned that like millions of Muslims, and like those in Christchurch, he too went to a mosque to offer the Friday prayers. “I know exactly what those moments before the shooting began would have been like. I know how quiet, how still, how introspective those people would have been before they were suddenly gunned down; how separated from the world they were feeling until the world came in and tore their lives apart,” he said.

Commenting on the perpetrators, Aly said they were aware that their victims were “profoundly defenceless” at that moment inside the mosque. Describing the attack as “slaughter by appointment,” Aly said that what was scary was that like millions of Muslims in the world, he would still be a part of the Friday prayers every week. “I’m going to keep attending those appointments, and it feels like fish in a barrel.”

But that, Aly lamented, wasn’t the scariest thing. Commenting on the acquiescence towards demonising of a particular religion, he said, “The thing that scared me most was when I started reading the manifesto that one of the apparent perpetrators of this attack published, not because it was deranged but because it was so familiar.”

Aly proceeded to read some Islamophobic quotes and remarks. He then added that they were not a part of the manifesto; in fact, they were published after this terrorist attack on Australian parliamentary letterhead. Referring to the highly bigoted remarks of Queensland’s right-wing senator, Fraser Anning, Aly said, “I know they (the anti-Islam words) came from someone who I don’t particularly want to name at the moment; who all parties have denounced. I also know that the leader of one of those parties that denounced him once described Islam as a ‘disease’ Australia needs to ‘vaccinate’.”

“But I also know a senior figure in our government once suggested we made a mistake as a country by letting in Lebanese Muslims in the 70s. And I know there are media reports going back eight years at a shadow cabinet meeting in which another senior politician suggested his party should use community concerns about Muslims in Australia failing to integrate as a political strategy. That person is now the most senior politician we have,” he added.

Aly was appreciative of Australian PM Scott Morrison’s “preparedness” to call the incidents at the Christchurch mosques a terrorist attack. After senator Fraser Anning posted on Twitter just hours after the attacks asking: “Does anyone still dispute the link between Muslim immigration and violence?,” Australian PM immediately castigated him. “The remarks by Senator Fraser Anning blaming the murderous attacks by a violent, right-wing, extremist terrorist in New Zealand on immigration are disgusting. Those views have no place in Australia, let alone the Australian Parliament,” read his tweet.

Aly, in an appeal against Islamophobia, said, “I have something to ask. Don’t change your tune now because the terrorism seems to be coming from a white supremacist. If you’ve been talking about being “tough on terrorism” for years in the communities that allegedly support it, show us how tough you are now.”

“For [me], I’m going to say the same thing I said about four years ago after a horrific Islamist attack. Now, now we come together. Now we understand that this is not a game, terrorism doesn’t choose its victims selectively, that we are one community and that everything we say to try to tear people apart, demonise particular groups, set them against each other, that all has consequences even if we’re not the ones with our fingers on the trigger,” said Aly, appealing for unity.

Also read: On Bigotry And Harassment Of Muslim Men, Taj Vivanta’s Response: ‘Inconvenience Is Regretted’

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