Minister for Home Affairs and Law K Shanmugam has slammed the incendiary remarks made by an Australian politician in the wake of the March 15 Christchurch shootings in New Zealand.
Shanmugam posted on Facebook late Friday night, March 15 at 11:28pm, denouncing the extremist terror attacks on two mosque and the reaction from Australian senator Fraser Anning as "Islamophobic" and "sickening".
In a lengthy statement (full version) issued after the deadly attack, Queensland senator Anning said the incident reflected the "growing fear" of Muslim immigration in Australia and New Zealand, even though he condemned the actions of the gunman.
Shanmugam wrote in the latter part of his post:
Hours later, an Australian Senator, issued an Islamophobic Statement, describing Islam as a violent, fascist religion, and said it promoted savage beliefs. He also attacked the Prophet, and blamed Muslim immigration, for the massacre.
The Senator’s Statement is sickening. It is completely unacceptable. And he issued it when people are grieving.
In some parts of the world, there is open Islamophobia. Very sad.
This is his full post:
Support for victims
Shanmugam also voiced his support for the victims and their families.
He wrote: "Our prayers are with the victims and their families. It is heartbreaking that people, praying in a mosque, should be mowed down."
Petition calling for removal of Anning
The backlash in Australia and New Zealand against Anning has been swift.
A petition calling for his removal from the senate was started almost right after his comments were made public and has since received 248,000 signatures within 20 hours.
Anning's statement has also been denounced by ordinary citizens from around the world, many of whom have signed the petition, which explains why it gained so much traction in a short span of time.
Muslims in New Zealand make up 1.1 percent out of a 4.25 million population.