A gunman who opened fire at two Christchurch mosques killing at least 49 people said the attack was in protest of mass immigration to European lands.
The man, who identified himself on Twitter as “Brenton Tarrant” from Australia, livestreamed his deadly rampage and turned the camera on himself before carrying out the attack.
In a vile 74-page manifesto entitled “The Great Replacement” posted online before the attack, he described himself as “just a regular White man”.
The title of the document has the same name as a conspiracy theory originating in France that believes European populations are being displaced in their homelands by immigrant groups with higher birth rates.
The dossier, which has been described by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison as a “work of hate”, praised US President Donald Trump as “a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose”.
The 28-year-old Tarrant also claimed that he had “brief contact” with Anders Breivik, the Norwegian white supremacist who murdered 77 people. He claimed he had received a “blessing” from him for his actions.
The dossier stated objections to immigration and multiculturalism, and decries the “decaying” culture of the white, European Western world.
Morrison confirmed an individual taken into custody is an Australian-born citizen. He called him “an extremist, right-wing, violent terrorist”.
Tarrant noted he was born “to a working class, low-income family … who decided to take a stand to ensure a future for my people”.
Sky News heard that the town of Grafton, where he lived in New South Wales, is in shock, trying to come to terms with how a “polite, well-mannered young man” came to find himself on a path that led to Christchurch.
He was a student at the local high school and went on to work at a gym, where his former boss said he regularly volunteered his time to train kids for free, sky News added.
In April 2010, his father died suddenly of cancer aged 49, leading Tarrant to set off on a seven-year trip around the world. It was at some time during this journey that former friends now speculate he was “perhaps radicalised”.
The header photo on Tarrant’s Twitter account shows a victim of the 2016 Bastille Day terror attack in Nice.
The famous photo by Reuters photographer Eric Gaillard came to symbolise the Bastille Day massacre when 84 people were killed by a truck ploughing into holidaying crowds, according to Reuters.
He described his reasons for the disgusting attack as to “show the invaders that our lands will never be their lands, our homelands are our own and that, as long as a white man still lives, they will NEVER conquer our lands and they will never replace our people”.
Tarrant revealed he had been planning an attack for up to two years, noting he decided on Christchurch three months ago.
He said New Zealand was not the “original choice for attack”, but described it as “target rich of an environment as anywhere else in the West”.
Claiming to represent “millions of European and other ethno-nationalist peoples”, he said “we must ensure the existence of our people, and a future for white children”.
The gunman described the attack as an act of “revenge on the invaders for the hundreds of thousands of death caused by foreign invaders in European lands throughout history … for the enslavement of millions of Europeans taken from their lands by the Islamic slavers … (and) for the thousands of European lives lost to terror attacks throughout European lands.”
He also said it was to take revenge for Ebba Akerlund, the 11-year-old child who was killed in a 2017 terror attack in Stockholm.
Tarrant described the Stockholm attack as the “first event” that inspired him to commit the attack, particularly the death of the 11-year-old girl.
“Ebba (sic) death at the hands of the invaders, the indignity of her violent demise and my inability to stop it broke through my own jaded cynicism like a sledgehammer. I could no longer ignore the attacks.”
However, the mother of the Swedish girl expressed her horror at yesterday’s shooting.
“She spread love and caring, not hate. I feel the pain of the families affected by this. I condemn any form of violence,” Jeanette Akerlund told Swedish public television SVT.
“It’s deeply tragic that Ebba’s name is abused in the name of political propaganda,” she told daily Aftonbladet.
Tarrant said yesterday’s attack was also inspired by a trip he took to France in 2017.
“For many years I had been hearing and reading of the invasion of France by non-whites, many of these rumours and stories I believed to be exaggerations, created to push a political narrative.
“But once I arrived in France, I found the stories not only be true, but profoundly understated. In every French city, in every French town the invaders were there.”
Tarrant said he feels no remorse for the attack. “I only wish I could have killed more invaders, and more traitors as well.” He also said there “was a racial component to the attack” and described it as “anti-immigration” and “an attack in the name of diversity”.
He also said he will plead not guilty if he survives and goes to trial.
Shortly before the attack began, an anonymous post on the discussion site 8chan, known for a wide range of content including hate speech, said the writer was going to “carry out an attack against the invaders” and included links to a Facebook live stream, in which the shooting appeared.
“If I don’t survive the attack, goodbye, godbless and I will see you all in Valhalla!”
Many anonymous users responded praising him for the attack, with comments like “Godspeed” and “that video is so goddamn good”.
In the days leading up to the attack, Tarrant posted photos to his now-suspended Twitter account of what appears to be guns, ammunition and a military-style vest.
The weaponry is scrawled with references to ancient battles and more recent attacks against Muslims.
In one image he writes “For Rotherham, Alexandre Bissonnette, Luca Traini”.
Bissonnette was sentenced to 40 years for shooting six people dead in the 2017 shooting at a mosque in Quebec.
Traini, an Italian man, is serving 12 years in prison for the shooting of six African migrants in a racially motivated attack in October last year.
Tarrant also frequently posted links to articles about extremism in Europe, multiculturalism and previous terror attacks.