New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, like many government officials, can go to great lengths to avoid implicating religion—especially Islam—in any terrorist attack, even if it’s clearly inspired by Islamism. Take last Friday’s stabbing attack at a supermarket in West Auckland, which wounded six people (the perp was killed by police).
As the New York Times reports, this has every sign of a being terrorist attack: the method, the ideology, and the fact that the suspect had already been under surveillance for five years because of his “ideology”. (Could that be Islam? As HuffPost reports—which for some reason isn’t allowing comments on this story—”Ardern said the attacker, who was not identified, was ‘obviously a supporter of ISIS ideology,’ in reference to the Islamic State terror group.”) It has in fact been officially deemed a “terrorist attack.”
More from the NYT:
The suspect, a Sri Lankan national, was shot and killed by the police, officials said. He had been under constant, active surveillance at the time of the attack at the market in West Auckland, they said. The suspect was not immediately identified.
“A violent extremist undertook a terrorist attack on innocent New Zealanders in the New Lynn Countdown in Auckland,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said at a news conference, referring to the supermarket.
“What happened today was despicable, it was hateful, it was wrong,” she added. “It was carried out by an individual — not a faith, not a culture, not an ethnicity, but an individual person who is gripped by ideology that is not supported here by anyone or any community. He alone carries the responsibility for these acts; let that be where the judgment falls.”
. . .The prime minister said the suspect, who came to New Zealand in 2011, had been known to security forces since 2016. She described him as a lone actor who had been under constant monitoring because of concerns about his ideology.
“This was a violent attack,” she said. “It was senseless, and I’m so sorry it happened.”
Yes, of course the act was carried out by an individual. Cultures, faiths, and ethnicities cannot by definition carry out a terrorist attack because humans have to do the deed. But Ardern is thick-headed here, for can she deny that that individual was motivated, at least in part, by a religiously based movement: Islamism? In fact she admits that!
So what does she mean by her exculpation of faith, culture, or ethnicity?
What she means is apparently this: “Yes, this guy was inspired to stab people because he was gripped by Islamist ideology, but the ideology isn’t to blame.” It’s similar to the mantra used by American NRA-ites: “guns don’t kill people, people kill people”. Except the U.S.statement is milder, because guns don’t incite people to use them in shootings, whereas ISIS ideology promotes the extirpation of nonbelievers.
It’s hard to understand a mentality that argues that an individual can be motivated to attack others because of faith, but then adds that the faith is not at all responsible. I suppose that when ISIS starts raping, oppressing, and beating the women of Afghanistan, Ardern will say, “These odious acts are carried out by individuals—not a faith, not a culture, and not an ethnicity.”
I used to admire Ardern, but sometimes she’s osculates the rump of religion way too arde(r)ntly.