DAP MP pushes urgent plan to counter extremism after NZ mosque massacre

Klang MP Charles Santiago called on the government to crack down on people and organisations that use race and religion to fan hatred to stay in power. — Picture by Zuraneeza Zulkifli
Klang MP Charles Santiago called on the government to crack down on people and organisations that use race and religion to fan hatred to stay in power. — Picture by Zuraneeza Zulkifli

KUALA LUMPUR, March 16 — Putrajaya needs to come up with emergency measures to fight rising xenophobia and extremism, Klang MP Charles Santiago said today after the mass shooting in two New Zealand mosques that killed 49 and hurt dozens more.

He indicated that Malaysia has cause for worry as a study last year under the Foreign Ministry showed one in five local college-age students to have been radicalised into believing that terror acts justified the achievement of an objective.

“The shooting is a despicable act of terrorism and one can only hope that it brings governments and international communities together in the ongoing fight against extremism and hate,” the DAP lawmaker said in a statement.

Charles called on the government to crack down on people and organisations that use race and religion to fan hatred to stay in power.

“But it is also the time to stop and think about the fanning of xenophobia, racism and bigotry that is happening in our society as we cannot deny the fact that these have grave consequences.

“The Christchurch shooting is another reminder that we need to stand together against Islamophobia and the murder of innocent people,” he added.

Charles said the suspected shooter in the Christchurch mosque attacks, Branton Tarrant, had posted an online manifesto denouncing immigrants, refugees and migrant workers before the rampage.

The DAP lawmaker cited a survey titled “Undergraduate Radicalisation in Selected Countries in Southeast Asia” by the South-East Asia Regional Centre for Counter-Terrorism to support his argument.

Wisma Putra confirmed two Malaysians to be injured when a gunman opened fire on worshippers at the Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch yesterday just before Friday prayers, but have not released their names.

Media reports indicate three Malaysians injured in the attacks: Rahimi Ahmad, 36; Mohd Tarmizi Shuib, 42; and Mohd Nazri Hisham Omar, 46.

Local daily New Straits Times reported the trio were among five Malaysians at the mosque.