Remembering Srebrenica is able to confirm that the terrorist who butchered innocent Muslim worshippers in the Christchurch Mosque attack was listening to a Serbian song glorifying Serbian war criminal Radovan Karadžić who was convicted for the 1995 genocide of Muslims on European soil in Srebrenica in Bosnia.
Whilst driving en route to committing this atrocity, the perpetrator was live-streaming. In the background is the Serbian song that glorified Radovan Karadžić with the lyrics “Wolves are on the move from Krajina. Karadžić lead your Serbs, let them see they fear no one” being played.
It is distressing to see that the nationalist words which fuelled hatred against Muslims that led to the genocide and ethnic cleansing of Muslims in Bosnia have resurfaced. Hearing of the glorification of genocidal Serbian extremists during the attack on two mosques in New Zealand has particularly shaken survivors of the genocide and ethnic cleansing who had to flee to safety in Britain and elsewhere in the world. This barbaric act of violence which deliberately targeted ordinary Muslims, who had simply come together to pray in peace, was designed to compromise feelings of safety of Muslims anywhere in the West.
Acts like these do not happen spontaneously. The incident in Christchurch is the culmination of years of Islamophobic rhetoric and anti-Muslim prejudices that have been allowed to develop into an extreme ideology and that has resulted in the murder of people who were targeted simply because of their religious identity.
We must be prepared to accept that we have tolerated Islamophobia and dehumanisation of Muslims by politicians, media, communities and far right groups for far too long and our collective failure to challenge such behaviour has led to the rise of religiously-motivated attacks. The genocide in Srebrenica is a tragic example of what can happen when such hatred is allowed to flourish, and the sad events of today once again reminds us of the need to reaffirm our efforts to stand up to such extremist and hateful ideologies.
We call on our politicians, media and institutions to take Islamophobia seriously and support us in our work to tackle hatred and intolerance to help build a better society for everyone.
The Chairman of Remembering Srebrenica, Dr Waqar Azmi OBE said:
“Our hearts break for the families and loved ones of those killed and injured at the two Mosques in New Zealand and for the entire Muslim community of Christchurch.
Live-streaming the murder of innocent families at prayer is a new low even for proponents of the racist ideology of white supremacists who have become increasingly emboldened, and who have openly advocated violence against minorities. Unfortunately, this violence occurs at a time when 52% of religiously motivated hate crimes in the UK are against Muslims. The bigotry underlying these actions needs to be challenged: condemnation of abhorrent actions is not enough.
We at Remembering Srebrenica, acknowledge that our work becomes more critical than ever. Together with our 1,200 Community Champions and 11 regional and country boards, we will remain steadfast in our mission to unite communities in tackling hatred by sharing the lessons learnt from Srebrenica”.