An apparent supporter of President Trump was seen outside the mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand where a deadly mass shooting recently took place.
A photo of the man in question was posted Wednesday in the Facebook group “Muslims in Christchurch and Canterbury,” which was launched for Muslims in New Zealand to share information and events with one another. The group is now also a place of support for local Muslims, following the deadly terrorist attack in which a heavily armed gunman massacred 50 worshippers praying in the Al Noor mosque.
“I went out and saw this guy at the front of the masjid wearing a shirt labelled ‘Trump for New Zealand’. He was swearing and saying that all muslims are terrorists and that we hate Jesus, in addition to saying that we all need to leave NZ, among other things,” wrote group member Adrian Wright, who said he talked to local police about the man. “He was there for about 15 minutes, he also kicked and tried to damage some of the memorial items along deans ave in front of the masjid. The police officer who was there let him go (claiming that he can’t arrest him because he didn’t break any laws), and afterwards the superior officer came on the scene and said they were trying to find him to arrest him.”
The man is still at large, and police are looking to arrest him for creating a public disturbance, according to Newsweek.
While President Trump himself condemned the New Zealand mosque attacks, his policies toward the Muslim community have been widely criticized as Islamophobic. Trump fulfilled his campaign promise of implementing restrictions on people from predominantly Muslim countries coming to the U.S. after the Supreme Court upheld his so-called “Muslim Ban” in June of 2018.
The person behind the attack on the Al Noor mosque said that while he didn’t like Trump’s policies as president, he did see Trump as “a symbol of renewed white identity” in his manifesto. The terrorist livestreamed the shooting on Facebook, and posted links to the stream on hate forum 8chan.
On Wednesday, Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-Michigan) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota) — the first Muslim women elected to Congress — introduced a bill that would overturn Trump’s travel ban.
— Wardah Khalid (@wardahkhalid_) April 10, 2019
New Zealand officially acted quickly to implement gun reform following the terror attacks in March. On Wednesday, the New Zealand parliament passed a bill on a 119-1 vote to ban most automatic and semi-automatic firearms, as well as components used to modify weapons. New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern supported the measure, and the bill is expected to go into law as soon as Friday.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: It is Grit Post’s editorial policy to not publish the names or likenesses of mass shooters in order to deny them the notoriety they often seek. We encourage other media outlets to do the same.)
Tom Cahill is a contributor for Grit Post who covers political and economic news. He lives in Bend, Oregon. Send him an email at tom DOT v DOT cahill AT gmail DOT com.