Australian Sen. Fraser Anning said Friday that Muslims are to blame for the 49 people killed in two New Zealand mosques.
In a statement released by his office, Mr. Anning wrote that while he condemns “the actions of the gunman,” he believes it underscores a “growing fear” of “the increasing Muslim presence.”
“The real cause of bloodshed on New Zealand streets today is the immigration program which allowed Muslim fanatics to migrate to New Zealand in the first place,” Mr. Anning said. “Let us be clear, while Muslims may have been the victims today, usually they are the perpetrators.”
He continued: “Just because the followers of this savage belief were not the killers in this instance, does not make them blameless.”
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison quickly slammed Mr. Anning’s remarks, saying they have “no place in Australia.”
“The remarks by Senator Fraser Anning blaming the murderous attacks by a violent, right-wing, extremist terrorist in New Zealand on immigration are disgusting,” he tweeted. “Those views have no place in Australia, let alone the Australian Parliament.”
New Zealand is reeling after a white supremacist attacked two mosques in the city of Christchurch that were packed for Friday prayers. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called the fatal shootings “an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence.”
A man in his late 20s has been arrested and charged with murder for the shootings.
Authorities said they found his 87-page manifesto, which was filled with anti-Muslim ideas.