Grace Carr, DCNF
The man who attacked a mosque in New Zealand Friday wrote the name of a little girl killed in a 2017 terrorist attack on his rifle, justifying his own attack as “revenge” for her death.
Alleged gunman, 28-year-old Australian man Brenton Tarrant, attacked two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, killing 49 people and wounding numerous others, according to CNN. Written on the shooter’s rifle was Ebba Akerlund, the name of an 11-year-old partially deaf Swedish girl who died in an April 2017 terrorist attack.
Akerlund was killed after Uzbekistan asylum-seeker, Rakhmat Akilov, drove a stolen beer truck through a crowd in Stockholm. The attack killed five and injured 14, according to The Associated Press.
Alleged shooter Tarrant cited Akerlund’s death multiple times in his 74-page manifesto, vowing “to take revenge for Ebba Akerlund,” in his manifesto, The Daily Beast reported. Other white supremacist groups have used the girl’s name to justify violence.
“That difference was Ebba Akerlund. Young, innocent and dead Ebba,” Tarrant wrote. “Ebba death at the hands of the invaders, the indignity of her violent demise and my inability to stop it broke through my own jaded cynicism like a sledgehammer.”
“It gives you chills,” Akerlund’s mother, Jeanette Akerlund, said, according to the Beast. “It is deeply tragic that Ebba’s name is abused in political propaganda.”
The girl’s father also blasted violent extremists who use his daughter’s name as justification for further violence. “[M]y daughter’s name on a rifle … How sick it is,” Stefan Akerlund wrote in a Facebook post. “How in hell can we ever get to mourn in peace?” he said, the Beast reported.
Tarrant’s manifesto also cites a number of terrorist attacks committed by Islamic terrorists and points to a history of aggression by Muslims. His attack is “revenge for the enslavement of millions of Europeans taken from their lands by the Islamic slavers,”according to the manifesto.
Tarrant is in custody and has been charged with murder, according to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.