A packed car park in provincial France is a likely setting for the poisonous views of a racist to fester. This is exactly where, less than two years ago, Brenton Tarrant watched dark-skinned Muslim families going about their lives in a manner that enraged him.
“As I sat there in the parking lot, in my rental car, I watched a stream of the invaders walk through the shopping centre’s front doors,” he wrote. “For every French man or woman there was double the number of invaders. I had seen enough, and in anger, drove out of town, refusing to stay any longer in the cursed place and headed on to the next town.”
The Australian’s hatred appears to have turned into murderous terrorism. He is suspected of carrying out the Christchurch terror attack which left 50 people dead and dozens more wounded. The bloodbaths at these sacred places of Muslim worship were the first to be livestreamed on social media.
Such an escalation – from malevolent observer to suspected white supremacist killer – is chilling enough, but another disturbing aspect of Tarrant’s case is the way he was radicalised in a country where venal racism based on biological theories is deemed entirely acceptable.
Not only is indisputably lethal bigotry “intellectualised” by TV personalities posing as pop “philosophers” in France, but it is perpetuated by everyone from senior politicians and diplomats to mainstream media commentators.
All, like Tarrant, share a common hatred of those from immigrant backgrounds, and particularly ones linked to former French colonies in North Africa. This is the prevailing dynamic in all national debate, and it has spread to neighbouring countries such as Britain, where far-right rabble rousers attempt to normalise racist theorising.
It is all part of the discourse of those who say that Islamophobia does not really exist, and that an enemy within is growing in power. The evidence that such venomous propagandists are influencing weak minds is overwhelming, especially as they relate to Tarrant.
Before being arrested last Friday, he had posted online a so-called manifesto called The Great Replacement. The very title is that of a conspiracy theory embraced by the French establishment in a country that is home to an estimated six million Muslims – the largest community of its kind in Western Europe.
Beyond recording his car park experiences, and other revelatory moments, Tarrant used his grievance document to expound on the replacement theory, correctly summarising it as one centered on “birth rates”, as in: “If there is one thing I want you to remember from these writings, it’s that the birth rates must change.”
He parroted far-right Frenchman Renaud Camus, the author of a book called The Great Replacement, which argues that white European citizens are rapidly being replaced by immigrants who breed more numerously, and who threaten the very fabric of western civilisation.
Camus has – predictably – issued a trite denial, saying his demonic orthodoxy had nothing to do with triggering men like Tarrant. This is despite earlier versions of the replacement theory fuelling genocides, including the Holocaust itself. Extermination policies carried out by the Nazis were based on biological theories focusing on “undesirable” races.
Camus has been convicted for racial hatred. Similar media personalities include Éric Zemmour. Despite receiving punishments from judges for offences such as inciting racial and religious hatred, particularly against Muslim communities, Zemmour remains a regular on French TV screens and radio programmes, and in newspapers columns.
Zemmour has published his own “replacement” screed titled The French Suicide. Its arguments are not only reflected in the work of French Muslim baiters with a similar profile – from Alain Finkielkraut, another pop philosopher, to the novelist Michel Houellebecq – but in the diatribes of plenty of British ones too.
These include neoconservatives such as Douglas Murray, who has produced a book about the “death of Europe” being facilitated by “immigration, identity” and “Islam”. Like-minded British commentators whose prejudices against ethnic and religious minorities are aired all over the UK include Rod Liddle, Melanie Phillips and Stephen Pollard, who was forced to apologise and pay damages for publishing an article attacking Muslims.
Like the convicted activist Tommy Robinson, their inclination is to ruthlessly portray all Muslims as belonging to an underclass. Others use nominally respectable outlets to call for a range of measures against detested newcomers who happen to share the same faith as murderous criminals, up to and including internment.
French politicians are also obsessed by the replacement theory, and make regular references to it in a country where Marine Le Pen, the candidate for a party founded by her convicted racist and antisemite father, came runner up in the 2017 presidential elections.
Le Pen’s defeat by Emmanuel Macron – a head of state Tarrant described as a “globalist anti-white” – also infuriated the terrorist, and helped provoke his crimes. Like Le Pen and her Front National party (now called the National Rally), Tarrant believed that globalist organisations, and especially the EU, were actively engaged in replacement.
Tarrant particularly wanted German chancellor Angela Merkel killed because she was the “mother of all things anti-white and anti-Germanic”, while high profile British Muslims, including London Mayor Sadiq Khan were similarly targeted.
In such circumstances, liberal French journalist Edwy Plenel has rightly described the great replacement theory as a “murderous ideology”. It is one that shames France, and all those who use it to advance their evil.
Register for free to continue reading
Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism
By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists
Already have an account? sign in