Durban – THE gunman who shot dead 49 worshippers in a mosque and injured several others refers to Nelson Mandela in a 74-page manifesto of hate titled “The Great Replacement”.
In the document, which Brenton Harrison Tarrant published online and e-mailed to New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern minutes before the attack, he refers to Mandela as “a terrorist”.
“I do not expect to be released, but I also expect an eventual Nobel Peace prize – as was awarded to the terrorist Nelson Mandela once his own people achieved victory and took power.
“I expect to be freed in 27 years from my incarceration, the same number of years as Mandela, for the same crime.”
South Africa joined a host of countries in condemning the attack.
“On behalf of the government and the people of South Africa, President Cyril Ramaphosa sends a message of condolence to the government and the people of New Zealand following the massacre,” said a statement issued by Khusela Diko from the presidency.
“We want to convey our deepest condolences to the families who have lost their loved ones and wish all the injured a speedy recovery.
“The South African diplomatic mission in Wellington has been directed to provide consular assistance and support to any South Africans affected.”
Tarrant, 28, appeared in court and was charged with murder. His next court appearance is scheduled for April 5.
In his manifesto, Tarrant accepts he is a racist and a fascist.
Referring to US President Donald Trump, he described him as “a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose”. But he rejected Trump as a policy-maker and leader.
In the document, he also claimed the New Zealand mosque attacks were an act of revenge for Ebba Akerlund, the 11-year-old girl killed in another terror attack, the 2017 Stockholm truck attack.
Akerlund’s father condemned the Christchurch attack as well as those who abused his daughter’s name. Elsewhere in the document, Tarrant said he was influenced by video games.
“Spyro the Dragon taught me ethno-ethnicity. Fortnite taught me to be a killer and to floss (a dance move) on the corpses of my enemies.”
Fitted with a body-cam and black body armour, he live-streamed his attack on Facebook. Social media companies have since deleted the videos, although the manifesto remains.
On Saturday, the burials of the victims began. Forty-one worshippers were killed at Al Noor Mosque and seven at Linwood Mosque, both in Christchurch suburbs. One person died in hospital.
While Ardern promised to tighten her country’s gun laws after the attack, it was cold comfort for families of the deceased. These included Yama Nabi, whose father, Haji Daoud, was gunned down at the Al Noor Mosque. Nabi said he was running late for the same prayer session his father attended. When he got there, the police were already at the scene.
“I was running and there was a guy who said there was a shooting in the mosque,” he said.
Nabi was at the Christchurch Law Courts when Tarrant was arraigned “to see his face”.
Wasseim Alsati and his daughter, 4, suffered multiple gunshot wounds. He posted a video to Facebook from his hospital bed and asked friends and family to “please pray for me and my daughter”.
Unable to speak coherently as a result of his injuries, Alsati thanked well-wishers for their support.
“I will not be able to answer them. I am just posting this video to show you that I am okay. God bless you all.”
In South Africa, leaders planned to increase security around mosques.
A V Mohamed, chairman of Durban’s Grey Street mosque, the largest in the southern hemisphere, said: “We will have to beef up our security. We might have to install metal detectors and other measures to ensure the safety of our worshippers.”
“Flashbacks and the opening of old wounds are what we get when we look at what has happened in New Zealand,” said Azad Seedat, chairman of the Imam Hussain Mosque in Ottawa, Verulam, north of Durban.
In May last year, three knife-wielding men attacked worshippers at the mosque.
“We empathise with the victims as we are also victims of acts of terror. We can tell you first-hand the pain that you feel when your place of worship is attacked. We are still recovering.
“Islamophobia and the brainwashing of people that some groups are inferior to others is ridiculous and among the leading factors behind these horrendous acts,” said Seedat.
Moulana Bam, secretary-general of the Jamiatul Ulama (Council of Muslim Theologians), said: “We are very happy that in South Africa we do have, historically, a better understanding and relationships between faith groups and it has never reached a situation where we have had violence or attacks based on faith.”
Ashwin Trikamjee of the Hindu Maha Sabha expressed shock that such acts still occurred around the world.
“There must be something truly wrong with you for you to perpetrate such acts and record them,” he said.
Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana of the South African Council of Churches met the leadership of the Muslim Judicial Council on Friday. He described the attack as “indescribable acts of evil”.
“We have noted with alarm the growing racist, right-wing and falsely nationalist sabre-rattling in Australia and a number of European countries and parts of middle Africa against people of Muslim faith, presumably in the name of Christianity.
“We call on Christians in this country and the world over to stand up for the message of Christ, which says the greatest law is to love God with all you are and love your neighbour as yourself,” he said.
The SA Jewish Board of Deputies “condemns in the strongest terms the heinous shootings of worshippers in two mosques in Christchurch”, the organisation said.
“We stand against hate crimes against any religious communities. Our sympathies are with the families of the deceased and our prayers with those injured.
“We stand in solidarity with the people of Christchurch. We stand in solidarity with the Muslim community.”
Department of International Relations and Co-operation spokesperson Ndivhuwo Mabaya said they were not aware of any South Africans who had been affected by the attacks.