By Scott Palmer
“I am not afraid to say I feel Mossad is behind this.” Credits: Apna Television
New Zealand’s Jewish community is outraged and revolted after a prominent mosque leader blamed Mossad for being behind the Christchurch terror attack.
On Saturday, a group called Love Aotearoa Hate Racism organised a rally for the victims in Auckland’s Aotea Square.
Ahmed Bhamji, chairman of the Mt Roskill Masjid E Umar, gave a speech questioning where the gunman got his funding from. He said he suspected it came from “Mossad” and “Zionist business”.
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Mossad is the foreign intelligence agency of Israel responsible for covert operations, intelligence gathering and counterterrorism.
“I really want to say one thing today. Do you think this guy was alone… I want to ask you – where did he get the funding from?” he can be heard saying in video footage.
“I stand here and I say I have a very very strong suspicion that there’s some group behind him and I am not afraid to say I feel Mossad is behind this.”
One person can be heard shouting in support: “It’s the truth. Israel is behind this. That’s right!”
A video of the speech was posted to Twitter, where it’s caused outrage in the Jewish community.
“These conspiracy theories are dangerous lies. They put the Jewish community at risk, at a time of heightened security concerns,” New Zealand Jewish Council spokesperson Juliet Moses told Newshub.
“Conspiracy theories – particularly the idea that Jews (whether through the Jewish state or otherwise) are a malevolent controlling force in the world – are at the very core of anti-Semitism.”
Several attendees at the event have already called out the event, saying they were “disappointed by some of the hate rhetoric”.
“The speaker talking about Mossad conspiracy theories already left me speechless,” one person wrote on the event’s Facebook page.
“Mentioning Mossad was deeply, deeply disappointing. And pretty racist,” another person said.
Newshub spoke to Love Aotearoa Hate Racism co-founder Joe Carolan, who said Bhamji was one speaker out of 30 and there were many different points of view at the event.
When asked whether he agreed with or believed the theory that Mossad were behind the attack, Carolan told Newshub “absolutely not”.
But Moses says the event organisers should have publicly disagreed with Bhamji.
“It is unfortunate that they did not appear to put its anti-racism message into practice, by challenging or condemning the racism in their midst,” she told Newshub.
“We must call out hateful dehumanising language, whatever the source, target and circumstances, and even when it is not politically expedient to do so.”
Newshub contacted Bhamji, who accused Newshub of singling him out.
“I made a statement, a lot of other people made statements,” he said.
Bhamji defended his speech, saying an inquiry is needed into where the alleged gunman got his money from. He didn’t offer any proof to his speculation Mossad had funded the alleged gunman.
“Mossad is up to all these things,” he said. “When I talk about Mossad, why should the Jews be upset about it? Give me an answer?”