A witness describes New Zealand mosque attack. “I never thought in my life I’d live to see something like this.”
After blaming Muslim immigrants for the deadly shooting by a white supremacist at two New Zealand mosques, an Australian senator had an egg cracked over his head by a teenager and is now facing censure.
Fraser Anning, an independent and former member of the far-right, anti-immigration One Nation party, drew widespread outrage for his comments made in tweets and an official 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,” Anning said in a statement.
“Does anyone still dispute the link between Muslim immigration and violence?” he also tweeted.
Anning was speaking to reporters Saturday in Melbourne when cameras caught a 17-year-old standing behind the politician. The teen held up his phone — appearing to record the event — and then cracked a raw egg on Anning’s head.
The lawmaker punched the teen before a scuffle broke out, and Anning’s supporters held the boy in a choke hold while calling for police, video of the incident shows.
Australia’s ABC News reported the teen was arrested and released by Victoria police. Police are investigating the incident, including Anning’s actions, the news outlet said.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison denounced Anning’s comments and said lawmakers would pass a censure motion against Anning once they return to session next month.
“I would normally not want to give this any oxygen, but I want to absolutely and completely denounce the statements made by Senator Anning,” Morrison told reporters. “In his conflation of this horrendous terrorist attack with issues of immigration, in his attack on Islamic faith specifically — these comments are appalling and they’re ugly and they have no place in Australia, in the Australian Parliament”
On Friday, 49 people in two mosques in the city of Christchurch were gunned down in an alleged targeted attack by an anti-immigration, racist gunman. The attack, which occurred as people were attending Friday prayers, was the deadliest in New Zealand’s history since 1990.
Contributing: Doug Stanglin, USA TODAY, and The Associated Press. Follow USA TODAY’s Ryan Miller on Twitter @RyanW_Miller
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