The white supremacist terrorist who killed 50 Muslim worshippers in New Zealand mosques donated a large sum of money to Austria’s Identitarian Movement, one of the rising far-right groups in Europe and North America.
The Austrian government is considering legal action against the far-right Identitarian Movement after police discovered a money trail between its leader Martin Sellner and Australian terrorist Brenton Tarrant, who committed the heinous New Zealand attacks.
Austrian police raided Sellner’s home in the capital Vienna on Monday as part of a larger investigation examining possible connections between Tarrant and Sellner.
Sebastian Kurz, the Austrian Chancellor, wrote on his Twitter account on Tuesday: “Any connection between the Christchurch attacker and members of the Identitarians in Austria needs to be comprehensively and ruthlessly investigated.”
On March 15, Tarrant killed 50 Muslim worshippers at two mosques in New Zealand's Christchurch city. The incident sent shockwaves across the world, opening a debate on the violent consequences of rising white supremacist and far-right movements that have been targeting immigrants and Muslim communities in the West.
“The €1,500 transfer stood out from other donations, most of which were two- or three-digit amounts,” said Hansjörg Bacher, a spokesman for the prosecutor’s office of the Austrian city of Graz.
According to Tarrant’s travel itinerary records, he has visited Austria among other places such as France, Hungary, Bulgaria, Turkey, Pakistan and North Korea between 2011 and 2019. But concrete evidence on the people he had liaised with on his travels hasn't yet been made public.
While Sellner says he refused to meet Tarrant in person and condemned the Christchurch attacks, the latter’s manifesto reveals an ideological connection between the two. Both Tarrant and Sellner are enablers of white supremacy, defending their anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant perspectives.
Who are Identitarians?
The Austrian Identitarians do not take their main inspiration from Nazi-era Germany, although the founder of Nazism, Adolf Hitler, was born and raised in Austria and has long been a role model for many far-right movements worldwide.
Austria's Identitarian movement is one of the branches of the larger Identitarian movement that first emerged in France in the 1960s, as an offshoot of France’s New Right or Nouvelle Droite (ND), a post World War II far-right movement.
The movement has many branches across Europe, North America, Australia, and New Zealand, where white populations are mainly concentrated.
Both Tarrant and Sellner believe in defeating multiculturalism and defending ethnic nationalism, which excludes non-whites and non-Christians.
Tarrant has openly subscribed to the ideas of Renaud Camus, a French writer, who is one of the godfathers of the Identitarian Movement, even somewhat promoting his controversial book The Great Replacement, while Sellner and his fellow Identitarians praise the same author.
Tarrant’s manifesto carries the same title as the Camus’s book and the movement’s leading website, Generation Identity, has been filled with references to the same concept, deliberately aiming to exploit the fears of white people in the face of immigration.
“This crisis of mass immigration and sub-replacement fertility is an assault on the European people that, if not combated, will ultimately result in the complete racial and cultural replacement of the European people,” Tarrant wrote in his manifesto, echoing Camus’s ideas.
Like Tarrant, Generation Identity claims that migration will make white Europeans “minorities in our own countries in a few decades.”
To prevent the extinction of the white race, Identitarians apply different tactics from occupying mosques to organising ‘pork sausage and booze’ parties in Muslim-dominated neighbourhoods, spreading fear and discomfort among migrant communities to force them leave Western countries.
Tarrant went even further, killing Muslim worshippers in broad daylight, claiming to have connections with other far-right groups including the Knights Templars, a group Anders Behring Breivik - who killed 77 people in a bombing and mass shooting attack in Norway in July 2011 - claimed to have helped re-establish.
“Though I did contact the reborn Knights Templar for a blessing in support of the attack, which was given,” Tarrant said, claiming to have connections with Breivik’s elusive group and getting the nod from them for his attack.
Despite Tarrant’s considerable donation, Sellner says the two have no connections except a brief messaging, which happened a year ago after the donation.
“I have not had any contact with him since. We have never met. I have distanced myself from this attack from the first moment,” Sellner said.
“We are a peaceful right-wing movement and we will not follow insane people.” Sellner claimed, echoing other Identitarians.
But are they really peaceful?
In 2016, Sellner’s Identitarian Movement of Austria (IBO) occupied a classroom in an Austrian University to protest refugees, punching Oliver Vitouch, the vice-chancellor of the university.
A year later, when high numbers of migrants were trying to cross the Mediterranean from the Middle East to Europe, Sellner was able to raise $100,000 to fund a Mediterranean voyage to prevent refugees from reaching safe areas.
Sellner was also banned from entering the UK after he and his two accomplices insulted Muslims in a British town with their racist slogans.
While Kurz, the Chancellor, spoke forcefully against the Identitarians, promising to pursue their alleged connection with Tarrant, Sellner has previously given public support to his coalition partner, the Freedom Party, which some also regard as part of Europe’s rising far-right movements.
Both Sellner and Tarrant have also expressed their like and support of US President Donald Trump, whose campaign message ‘Make America Great Again’ has been interpreted by some prominent experts as making America white again.