Police and ambulance staff help a wounded man from outside a mosque in central Christchurch, New Zealand, Friday, March 15, 2019. A witness says many people have been killed in a mass shooting at a mosque in the New Zealand city of Christchurch. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

VIDEO: New Zealand mosque shooter brandished white supremacist iconography

Material posted online by the killer resembles meme-heavy hate speech

The self-proclaimed racist who attacked a New Zealand mosque during Friday prayers in an assault that killed 49 people used rifles covered in white-supremacist graffiti and listened to a song glorifying a Bosnian Serb war criminal.

These details highlight the toxic beliefs behind an unprecedented, live-streamed massacre, which Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called “one of New Zealand’s darkest days.”

Some of the material posted by the killer resembles the meme-heavy hate speech prominent in dark corners of the internet. Beneath the online tropes lies a man who matter-of-factly wrote that he was preparing to conduct a horrific attack.

Music

The shooter’s soundtrack as he drove to the mosque included an upbeat-sounding tune that belies its roots in a destructive European nationalist and religious conflict. The nationalist Serb song from the 1992-95 war that tore apart Yugoslavia glorifies Serbian fighters and Bosnian Serb political leader Radovan Karadzic, who is jailed at the United Nations war crimes tribunal in The Hague for genocide and other war crimes against Bosnian Muslims. A YouTube video for the song shows emaciated Muslim prisoners in Serb-run camps during the war. “Beware Ustashas and Turks,” says the song, using wartime, derogatory terms for Bosnian Croats and Muslims.

READ MORE: Mass shootings at New Zealand mosques kill 49; 1 man charged

When the gunman returned to his car after the shooting, the song “Fire” by English rock band “The Crazy World of Arthur Brown” can be heard blasting from the speakers. The singer bellows, “I am the god of hellfire!” as the man, a 28-year-old Australian, drives away.

Symbol

At least two rifles used in the shooting bore references to Ebba Akerlund, an 11-year-old girl killed in an April 2017 truck-ramming attack in Stockholm by Rakhmat Akilov, a 39-year-old Uzbek man. Akerlund’s death is memorialized in the gunman’s apparent manifesto, published online, as an event that led to his decision to wage war against what he perceives as the enemies of Western civilization.

The number 14 is also seen on the gunman’s rifles. It may refer to “14 Words,” which according to the Southern Poverty Law Center is a white supremacist slogan linked to Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf.” He also used the symbol of the Schwarze Sonne, or black sun, which “has become synonymous with myriad far-right groups,” according to the centre, which monitors hate groups.

Historical references

In photographs from a now deleted Twitter account associated with the suspect that match the weaponry seen in his live-streamed video, there is a reference to “Vienna 1683,” the year the Ottoman Empire suffered a defeat in its siege of the city at the Battle of Kahlenberg. “Acre 1189,” a reference to the Crusades, is also written on the guns.

Four names of legendary Serbs who fought against the 500-year-rule of the Muslim Ottomans in the Balkans, written in the Cyrillic alphabet, are also seen on the gunman’s rifles.

READ MORE: Quebec City Muslim worshippers condemn fatal New Zealand mosque attacks

The name Charles Martel, who the Southern Poverty Law Center says white supremacists credit “with saving Europe by defeating an invading Muslim force at the Battle of Tours in 734,” was also on the weapons. They also bore the inscription “Malta 1565,” a reference to the Great Siege of Malta, when the Maltese and the Knights of Malta defeated the Turks.

The names of two 15th-century Hungarian military leaders known for fighting against the advancing Ottomans are also mentioned. John Hunyadi’s name is written on a rifle, while Mihaly Szilagyi Horogszegi’s name is on an ammunition magazine.

Jon Gambrell, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

$30,000 in funding for Shuswap youth projects available

Funds come through partnership between Shuswap Community Futures and RBC

Okanagan-Shuswap weather: rain, clouds, thunderstorms and flash floods

Environment Canada forecasts dreadful weather for Thursday

Black bear spotted near Hillcrest Elementary

The bear was sighted at around 4 p.m. after school was out

Salmon Arm skater captains national champion Junior A hockey squad

Nathan Plessis was wearing the C for the Brooks Bandits as they beat the Prince George Spruce Kings

VIDEO: Fire damaged Salmon Arm 7-Eleven demolished

7-Eleven representative says company interested opening elsewhere in Salmon Arm

Hundreds of homeowners angered over proposed development on WFN land

Westbank First Nation are seeking to rezone Lot 348-3 from low density to high density area

In photos: Classroom-raised salmon fry released

South Broadview Elementary students participate in fry release at Kingfisher Interpretive Centre

Crews fight fire with fire to keep blaze from northern Alberta town

The wildfire now covers some 920 square kilometres

Man in B.C. charged with murder and arson in 2016 New Brunswick death

He is charged in the death of 71-year-old Lucille Maltais, who was found inside a burned down home

Young Vernon melanoma survivor speaks out about sun danger

World Melanoma Day is recognized every May to highlight the growing prevalence of malignant melanoma.

Kelowna fundraiser returns to support African grandmothers

The 2019 Stride to Turn the Tide walk is June 1

Kelowna thrill-seeker returns to rally racing

Mark Jennings-Bates is back behind the wheel at Rocky Mountain Rally this weekend

Improve your life and theirs, adopt a cat from the BC SPCA

The BC SPCA holds an adult cat adoption promotion

Okanagan pastry chef wins top honours at Vancouver’s Chocolate Challenge

Jalayne Jones creation, ‘Beer & Pretzels’, won

Most Read