Published: Sat, March 16, 2019
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Australian Senator Blames NZ Shooting on 'Growing Fear of Muslims' Presence'

Australian Senator Blames NZ Shooting on 'Growing Fear of Muslims' Presence'

In his statement, he also said, "However, whilst this kind of violent vigilantism can never be justified, what it highlights is the growing fear within our community, both in Australia and New Zealand, of the increasing Muslim presence".

Australia's prime minister, Scott Morrison, called Anning's comments "disgusting".

Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull echoed the sentiment.

"While families in Christchurch mourn for loved ones they've lost, an obscure Australian Senator saw this act of terrorism and tragedy as an opportunity to blame the murder victims", Mr Shorten said.

In it, Anning claimed while he was "utterly opposed to any form of violence" and condemned the actions of the gunman, he said the atrocity highlighted the "growing fear over an increasing Muslim presence" in Australia and New Zealand.

But the remainder of his lengthy statement attacked Islam and Muslim immigrants in startling terms.

"Rather than demonstrating empathy and compassion, he has chosen instead to vent his racist prejudice and hatred against Islam and Muslims by blaming the victims instead of the criminal perpetrators", he said in a statement today.

"Just because the followers of this savage belief were not the killers in this instance, does not make them blameless", he concluded.

In August, he called for a "final solution" to the Muslim "immigration problem", evoking a reference to the Nazis' "final solution" terminology used to target Jews during the Holocaust.

Australian politicians have denounced his remarks.

"I can confirm that the individual who was taken into custody, I have been advised, is an Australian-born citizen".

"Parliament, I'm sure, will express a very clear view about what he's had to say", Mr Morrison said.

Mr Morrison said the government will lead a motion of censure against Senator Anning in parliament.

"For somebody to use the privilege of Parliament, the privilege of this platform, to spew such hate is beyond comprehension", Anne Aly, the body's first female Muslim member, told the Times then.

Local media reported up six people were dead and the South Island city was placed in lockdown as police hunted for an "active shooter".

An email sent to Sen.

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