If people think that terrorists like Daesh and al-Qaeda do not have various internal code words and even unique dialects understood only by fellow extremists – think again. If people think that terrorist groups operating in Iraq and Syria do not use internet memes, videos and online discussion threads to promote their brand of hatred among the young – think again. If people furthermore do not think that Daesh and al-Qaeda thrive by manipulating a perverse shadow pop culture – think again.
Of course, most people realise that Daesh and al-Qaeda are as much about black web based propaganda as they are about committing acts of mass terrorism and as such, Daesh and al-Qaeda supporters are never called “trolls”, “shitposters” or purveyors of “irony”.
And yet, the white supremacist, anti-Muslim terrorist of Christchurch infamy has been described in mainstream liberal western media as someone being “ironic”, being a “troll” and being a “shitposter”. All of these terms tend to refer to those who use an online presence to either exaggerate their own beliefs or parody the extreme beliefs of others in order to get an emotional reaction from those who do not realise that crude satire, morose hyperbole and elementary pranksterism are at play.
But no actual comedians (however crude) can be considered terrorists, even if they push the boundaries of free speech in order to make provocative points. And yet, the terrorist in Christchurch was no “troll” or comical figure – he was a died in the wool terrorist, a cold blooded killer of the variety that in a different ideological context would have been a killer in the ranks of terror groups like Daesh, FETO and al-Qaeda.
Even if the Christchurch terrorist was being sarcastic during parts of his manifesto, this only goes to prove his a priori shamelessness which itself is substantiated by his ex post facto lack of remorse as has been documented by lawyers in New Zealand. This does not make him a social media troll but places him among the ranks of serial killers and Daesh terrorists who believe that their acts of violence elevate them to the level of holy figures when in reality they are nothing but wicked mass murderers.
While it could have been expected that those on the neo-fascist right would try and whitewash the Christchurch terrorist as a “troll” or a “shitposter”, the fact that so-called respectable media personalities have also done so, demonstrates that even among people who would publicly reject Islamophobia if given the chance, an unconscious Islamophobia is so pervasive in western societies that seemingly “mainstream” figures are de facto minimising the terrorist’s crime. They are doing so by relating the terrorist to crude online comedy. By contrast, the ridiculous things that Daesh supporters say online are uniformly labelled terrorist propaganda rather than “shitposting” or “trolling”.
While the western far-right have reacted predictably to the atrocity in Christchurch, liberals continue to get away with closet Islamophobia by providing a pseudo-intellectual explanation for terrorism that is nothing more than a verbose version of the extremism vocalised by the likes of self-described right wing troll Milo Yiannopoulos who wasted no time in trying to minimise the terrorist atrocity. The difference between mainstream liberals and self-identified trolls of the far-right is merely in the subtlety of the language that is deployed. The overall message from both the western far-right and from liberals is that white anti-Islamic terrorists deserve being copiously analysed and therefore justified through either conscious or unconscious subterfuge, whilst those who commit terrorism in the name of Islam (Daesh for example) deserve unqualified condemnation.
The reality is that all terrorism deserves only condemnation. The ideologies behind terror attacks might be useful at galvanising and recruiting useful idiots to commit horrific acts, but any decent member of any society ought to realise that terrorism has no religion, no race, no ethnicity and no singular ideology other than a generic ideology which permits and validates violence against innocent people.
Liberals in the west continue to expose themselves as unconsciously sympathetic to the same factions that are openly praised by the western fascist fringe. In the same way that a hyena is to be less feared than a snake, liberals have once again demonstrated that when it comes to normalising Islamophobia, they are the undisputed champions of hatred.