In the past two months, three deadly terrorist attacks targeted different places of worship - Muslims, Christians and Jews - in various parts of the world. These highlighted the increasing influence of hate speech and terrorism led by far-right wing groups in the West and in the Middle East as well.
On Saturday night and during a congregation celebrating the last day of Passover, a terrorist gunman walked into a synagogue in Poway, north of San Diego in California, and opened fire using an AR-type assault rifle killing one woman and injuring three other people.
The woman who died was 60-year-old Lori Kaye. She was shot after throwing herself in front of a rabbi during the firing spree.
Lori Gilbert Kaye was murdered as she tried to shield the Rabbi of #Poway #Chabad Synagogue as he was giving his sermon on the last day of #Passover. He is also injured, but alive. Lori's loss is felt deeply around the world - may her memory be a blessing. pic.twitter.com/L9PiiURRsr— Michael Dickson (@michaeldickson) April 28, 2019
The 19-year-old suspect was chased out of the building by an off-duty officer who fired back at him. He was immediately arrested.
Social media users have been sharing what is thought to be the attacker’s manifesto; an open letter posted hours before the attack, on the online forum 8chan, in which he identified himself, stating his anti-Semitic motives and racist rants.
Not only does the San Diego synagogue shooter's manifesto reference the Christchurch and Pittsburgh shootings, it specifically cites the support of 8chan and calls on other "anons" to carry out more attacks. https://t.co/7oRDrAwrm2— Evan Hill (@evanchill) April 28, 2019
In a similar rhetoric to the New Zealand Christchurch attacks, the Poway attacker refers to the two attacks on the Christchurch mosques in March 2019 which killed over 50 people and the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting in October 2018 in which 11 people were killed. As he said he was inspired by these attacks. He has also claimed responsibility for an attack on a mosque in the US a week ago.
The #Poway shooter’s manifesto is classic white nationalism- claims Jews orchestrate mass immigration, feminism, race mixing for ‘genocide of European race’; cites Christian scripture, calls Jews Satanic. Let’s get clear- white Christian nationalism is the biggest threat to Jews.— Ben Lorber (@BenLorber8) April 27, 2019
One Twitter account is reported to have seen the attacker's manifesto on the 8chan website hours before the attack took place.
Twitter user spotted the San Diego shooter’s 8chan post several minutes before the attack (timestamp confirms) and called the FBI to report it https://t.co/IUsa32u5nh— Jon Passantino (@passantino) April 28, 2019
The fact that the synagogue attacker was able to post his letter on the internet citing hate and white nationalism as his reasons, has in fact highlighted the rise of the far-rightist ideology on digital media platforms, those who fear being replaced by the Jews or the immigrants.
I'm not interested in condemnations of anti-semitism from purveyors of white supremacy. You cannot attack immigrants, refugees, Muslims, and people of color and claim to stand with Jews. It's all the same tide of hate.— Leah Greenberg (@Leahgreenb) April 28, 2019
But the conversation on the power of the digital media platforms have failed in stopping such attacks from taking place. This is despite the fact the attacker managed to talk about it hours ago on the internet.
Meanwhile, discussion on the ban of white supremacist accounts on social media platforms and the monitoring or even censorship of hate speech has come to light again.
Twitter needs to remove every white supremacist account, then note who complains about it and remove them too.— Tea Pain (@TeaPainUSA) April 28, 2019
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