New Zealand mosque shooting leaves at least 49 dead

Authorities say the shooter was motivated by anti-immigrant and racist sentiments.
9:27 | 03/15/19

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Transcript for New Zealand mosque shooting leaves at least 49 dead
49 people are dead in New Zealand after a gunman opened fire at two mosques in Christ church we want to get straight to our senior foreign correspondent here at. ABC news Ian panel to catch us up on the latest in this happened during Friday prayers. Yeah that's right Friday midday press is the main press time throughout the week it's one wireless of people more people tend to that's patent. Christ church in New Zealand Cooney has three malls. And two of them were hit by this attack today Berman this is a country -- a country that is never experienced a terrorist attack before. What we understand happened was that the gunman. Who is an extreme right wing white supremacist. And to the gun carrying multiple weapons we understand those sending. Multiple weapons and open file all the congregation that Rome worshippers. Then there was another shooting at another mosque it's not clear of the moon whether it was the same sheets it's a move from the album almost to the Lynnwood malls. More people shall mammal people killed more people injured. As I say the worst incidence of his con clearly ever in New Zealand. But some people will be saying parts of much broader Paxson worldwide. And and into that and we're going to speak with our contributor John Cohen formally of the Department of Homeland Security coming up but I wanted to ask you about this particular suspect in because he did seem. Steeped in a lot of ideology that has been cropping up of late particularly on line. Yes and certainly evade the far extreme and all of that but yes there is a network of people out that this has been a growing trend. The been increasing numbers of attacks have been attributed. To fall right extremist terrorists. That you did that tends to be a specific categorization what we think a terrorist is a more motivations they have. This is further proof that actually things have changed a number of terrorist attacks last year. Actually went down. But the number of attacks that have being carried out under the pretext of being part of a follow rice white supremacist. Extreme mantra has actually gone now and that the deliberate targeting. Of Muslims Pratt on Friday. Is proof of that neck he was recording. He was light streaming as he went. On his merge despray. But you'll say very clearly said that this was targeted. Case what a cold. Immigrants in general rule is people anyway who would be that those moss would necessarily have been immigrants they would have been people who lived in New Zealand born in New Zealand. But nevertheless that is the Bartel Bolivia and have to look at the other people that he. Said that he admired that he repaired that he followed that he culpa it. They will also people who who who felt that they were striking out a gains. Immigration striking out I gains different religions like Islam and Judaism. People who also feel that that. Parts of a backlash against some liberal elites. Trend in society so as a whole bunch of different things that are thrown together. But also on things important to say that we coins Holston. You have referred to people who carry out attacks Weathers mass shootings. What terrorist attacks this we use this phrase today off mentally on well. Now clearly anybody cares that's an attack of this type. Would it fits into that category and you have to look at his manifesto that day he released online Woolen seventy pages long. It is kind of all over the place in terms of what it is that he rail to gangs what is he was opposed to. Two is not entirely coherence in some senses but it does fit that ruled spectrum. An anti establishment fall writes white supremacy is. Creed that is breathing an increasing number of terrorists attacks targeted often immigrant communities. Certainly at religious minorities. And that problem that you raised in has been particularly cute accused here in the United States I want to turn to. ABC news contributor John Cohen formally of the Department of Homeland Security who who studies this stuff because John. That the number of attacks prescribed to right wing extremists in the United States is only on the increase in fact last year 2018 or more of them. Then it any time in the US since 1995. In the Oklahoma City federal building bombing. There or not that's correct and in. And I totally agree with what Ian has been discussing over the last few minutes. We have seen an increase in this country in targeted attacks. By individuals who are motivated by far right. Weighing extremist ideology. We're about to experience increasing hate crimes by BB. People motivated by the same ideologies targeting immigrants. African Americans. Muslims and it changes so there's real concern amongst the law enforcement community. That we are in the midst of a trend. A trend in which the primary threat facing the United States today. Comes from individuals who are motivated to violence. By far right wing extremist ideologies. And that seems to thrive. On line it feels like Charlottesville really brought that to the floor where previously fringe elements scattered across the country in small pockets were able to gather up critical mass. That's exactly agonize I am often asked what I'm speaking publicly. Meeting with people are there more. A white supremacist and or more right wing violent extremists and the answer that question is from everything we can bingo but there are two important factors. That have. Enhance the threat the first is BC is the widespread use of social media and the Internet. I people who are once isolated by geography can now in to connect on a global basis they can share ideas they can spread their hateful rhetoric. They can share videos and other information about attacks. And and and and that serves to inspire those within the community who are predispose them to violence. But what we haven't talked about in this is another major factor that has law enforcement extraordinarily concerned. That much. Important elements of the ideological rhetoric he used by white extremist leaders have now found its way into our mainstream political rhetoric. So when we have elected officials we have people running for office in Europe the United States. Australia New Zealand using the same words as and white supremacist leaders. People who are pre disposed to violence feel empowered by their words. They they leave listen to what leaders say and they act on and so the words that are being used in our political discourse. Are actually feeding into that the violence that is has immersed in this country. Jon Cohen formally of the department of homeland security and now an ABC news contributor and back to Ian panel are senior foreign correspondent on that point he mentions in that. This is not just been a problem in the United States. It has been a problem around the world in some of these fringe elements particularly in Europe. Have been gaining a little. Oh power. Yeah I'm you know I would Decker everything there Jones said they being gaining power them more represented. In the political mainstream. And that arguably provides some and her legitimacy even if those people who are in the mainstream would never. And tools. Or approve of these kinds of extreme acts. That perhaps in the current ten a political debates provide some kinda come away. People feel legitimize and again if you go into some the he he references a lofts all of what we now regard as a political mainstream. In America and also here in Europe and and some of the responses as well from mainstream politician one in particular. In in Australia I'm look at a quote from it but that. Highly offensive to to immigrant communities to minority communities. Sort of condemning the attack. But at the same time saying well we understand where this is coming from I would say what again echoing what Joan said yes these people are able to connect home line. But also. The nature of the political debate that we currently living in means of people who are operates in silence with how much. And much less sheds experience Weathers case watching the news. All the political discourse. Our differences have become greats of enough similarities and that lack of crossover means that people are just reinforcing. Their own bigotry and hatred to appoint wax. This kind of back stars to become something that that only seems. Legitimate and you have to ask itself if he releases its manifesto will come a message is this designed to send to other people. Give these people think and events about the kind of coverage of the conversations you and I are having now on what kind of impact the house on other people who may be like minded. So we have to be very careful about the nature of how we analyze what these people about which is why I raise a question all you had that the men pull. Fitness all of these people people who were able to get weapons and pats attack Weathers a mass murder or whether it's a terrorist attack. You did mace claim to have a political agenda. But the rules are people who highly unstable and we should see it for what it is. A senior foreign correspondent here and ABC news in panel with a us from London in our thanks to you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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