Christchurch mass murderer's guilty plea saves Muslims' trial ordeal

Waqar Azmi OBE

Remembering Srebrenica welcomes the guilty plea of the Christchurch Mosque terrorist and is relieved the hate-filled Serbian ideology which inspired the murder of 51 innocent Muslims will not get the oxygen of publicity during a trial.

Australian Brenton Tarrant pleaded guilty to 51 murders, 40 attempted murders and a charge of terrorism for committing last March’s atrocity which shocked the world and led to an unprecedented outpouring of communal grief in New Zealand.

Loved ones of the victims were bracing themselves for a full trial in June which would have included disturbing Go-Pro footage of the massacre which had a soundtrack of hatred including a Serbian song which glorified war criminal Radovan Karadžić.

The prospect of seeing the twisted killer’s live-streamed journey as he psyched himself up for mass murder to the lyrics “Wolves are on the move from Krajina. Karadžić lead your Serbs, let them see they fear no one” was harrowing for Bosnian Muslims who escaped the 1995 genocide.

There were also fears Tarrant would use the trial to spew far-right ideology in a bid to incite a race war between Christians and Muslims as Norwegian child killer Andreas Breivik did at his trial.

Muslims across the world would rightly have been nervous during the duration of the trial in case another right-wing extremist was inspired to attack innocent worshippers in Mosques throughout the West.
However, instead of a packed courtroom, the assembled media and a jury, Tarrant’s guilty plea was heard in silence in a near empty building due to New Zealand’s Coronavirus lockdown rules. Though special dispensation was made for a representative of the two Mosques attacked to attend the hearing.

Remembering Srebrenica chairman Waqar Azmi OBE, who founded the charity was in 2013 to ensure the genocide of 8,732 Muslim men and boys in 1995 would forever serve as a warning of how a society could disintegrate if hatred is left unchecked, is relieved disturbing images of the Christchurch Mosque attacked will not be flashed around the world in June.
He said: “Live-streaming the murder of innocent families at prayer was 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.“This guilty plea will mean the footage of how this terrorist was inspired by Radovan Karadžić to murder Muslims will not be shown again in court and those who thrive on hatred will be deprived an opportunity to be inspired by such a hateful ideology.

“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.”
He added: “I am also relieved for the families of the victims and the wider Muslim community of Christchurch that they will not have to relive such an abhorrent atrocity.”

Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadvic was sentenced last March to 40 years to life in prison for his role in the Bosnian War reaffirming his conviction of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Tarrant will be sentenced later this year when the Coronavirus restrictions have been lifted in New Zealand.