JAKARTA (Dispatches) -- Leaders around the world expressed disgust and sorrow at the killing of 49 people in New Zealand mosques on Friday, and some also expressed anger at what they described as the demonization of Muslims that fuelled such attacks.
Western leaders from Donald Trump to Angela Merkel expressed solidarity with the people of New Zealand, deploring what the White House called a "vicious act of hate”. The response from some Muslim countries went further, blaming politicians and the media for stoking that hatred.
"I blame these increasing terror attacks on the current Islamophobia post-9/11 (where) 1.3 billion Muslims have collectively been blamed for any act of terror,” Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan wrote on social media.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the attack was a result of Muslims being demonized. "Not only the perpetrators, but also politicians & media that fuel the already escalated Islamophobia and hate in the West are equally responsible for this heinous attack,” he tweeted.
Hundreds of angry protesters in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, chanted "Allahu akbar!” (God is Greatest) after Friday prayers.
"We will not let the blood of Muslims go in vain,” said one protester. Members of the Bangladesh national cricket team, in Christchurch for a match against New Zealand, had arrived for Friday prayers as the shooting started but were not hurt.
New Zealand police said 49 people had died and more than 40 were wounded. Three people were in custody including one man who has been charged with murder, police said.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said some of the victims may have been new immigrants or refugees.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said an Australian national arrested after the attack was an "extremist, right-wing violent terrorist”.
The Palestinian chief peace negotiator, Saeb Erekat, called the attack a "consequence of racist ideologies that continue trying to promote religious wars”.
He compared it to a shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh that killed 11 people last October, deadly attacks on churches in Egypt by Daesh and an attack by a far-right Israeli gunman on a West Bank mosque in 1994 that killed 29 people.
Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg said the attack brought back memories of 2011, when anti-Muslim extremist Anders Breivik killed 77 people at a youth gathering on a Norwegian island: "It shows that extremism is nurtured and that it lives in many places.”
Al-Azhar University, Egypt’s 1,000-year-old seat of Sunni Islamic learning, called the attack "a dangerous indicator of the dire consequences of escalating hate speech, xenophobia and the spread of Islamophobia”.
In Iran, Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi denounced the attack by the alleged white supremacist - reportedly an admirer of President Trump - as inhumane and totally brutal.
He urged governments to prevent racist and Islamophobic movements and ideologies from threatening the security and tranquility of the citizens of states across the world.
The Australian gunman, identified as Brenton Tarrant, broadcast live footage on Facebook of the attack on one mosque in the city of Christchurch, mirroring the carnage played out in video games, after publishing a "manifesto" in which he denounced immigrants, calling them "invaders".
In his manifesto, Tarrant said he saw Trump as "symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose.”
The 28-year-old terrorist said he chose to use a gun over other weapons because it would spark a debate around the second amendment.
Iranian Foreign Minister Muhammad Javad Zarif cited Trump’s Islamophobic remarks, and lashed out at the "Western hypocrisy of defending demonization of Muslims as ‘freedom of expression’.”
"Impunity in Western 'democracies' to promote bigotry leads to this: Israeli thugs enter mosque in Palestine to insult Muslims; terrorists in NZ livestream their murder of 49 Muslims. Western hypocrisy of defending demonization of Muslims as 'freedom of expression' MUST end,” he said.
Intercept columnist Mehdi Hasan told CNN Tonight that "far-right terrorism” was on the rise in the United States and blamed President Trump for attacks both in the U.S. and abroad.
"Western government has turned a blind eye to domestic terrorism, to domestic far-right terrorism,” Hasan said.
He went on to say that there were "more attacks, more casualties from domestic terrorist groups - far-right groups - than there are quote-unquote jihadist or Islamist groups.”
According to Hasan, not only was Trump’s rhetoric responsible for attacks in the U.S., he was also responsible for attacks in other countries.