Rabat- Appearing to have been outraged by inflammatory comments in the aftermath of the Christchurch mosque shootings, a 17-year-old boy cracked a raw egg on the head of an Australian senator during a news conference in Melbourne on Saturday.
Although Senator Fraser Anning called the New Zealand mosque shootings an “unfortunate tragedy,” he appeared to double down on his earlier statements.
He argued in the news conference that “this sort of things will soon be accepted and expected as normal.” The allusion was to his usual trope of Muslims’ and immigrants’ incompatibility with the Australian or Western way of life.
But Anning did not have time to elaborate further. Behind him, a white-shirted teenager cracked an egg on the senator’s head. The senator then replied in kind, punching and kicking the boy.
The audience intervened, stopping the boy from responding to the senator’s outburst.
“Police said the boy was arrested but was released without charge pending a further investigation. No motive was offered for the egging,” the Chicago Tribune reported.
Although there is no evidence they also used eggs to convey their displeasure, many international leaders had strongly criticized the senator’s initial comments soon after news emerged of a heinous attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern condemned the attacks, saying it was “one of New Zealand’s darkest days.” Many world leaders joined in, including King Mohammed VI. They all sent “prayers and thoughts” to the families of victims, urging that such acts should not have the upper hand on “our common humanity.”
‘Muslim migration’ breeds violence
For Anning, however, the attacks happened because of “Muslim migration.”
He said in a statement, “The real cause of the bloodshed on New Zealand streets today is the immigration program which allowed Muslim fanatics to migrate to New Zealand in the first place.”
On Twitter, Anning asked whether anyone “still disputes the link between Muslim immigration and violence.”
In Australia, ministers and MPs have been quick to slam Anning, discrediting his platform and saying he is not representative of the country’s stance on Islam and migration and “should be ashamed of himself.”
Australian Minister Scott Morrison said that Anning’s conflation of violence and terrorism with immigration and Islam is “appalling” and has no place in the country’s political culture.
Meanwhile, critics of Australia’s far-right platforms have suggested that Anning’s comments are motivated by a desire to secure a senatorial election in May.
The senator’s slamming of Muslims and immigrants was an easy route to appeal to far-right and white supremacist electors to maintain his senatorial seat, they argued.
Others suggested that Anning is no different than the terrorist who killed 49 people who were calmly attending to their religious duty.
The spokesman of the Australian National Imams Council, Bilal Rauf, remarked, referring to Anning’s comments, “When one looks at his statement, it may as well have been an extract from the manifesto of the person that perpetrated these heinous crimes, this act of terrorism in Christchurch.”