New Zealand shooting suspect cited French writer's fear of 'replacement' by immigrants as motivation

One of the suspects allegedly involved in the deadly shooting at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, reportedly cited the right-wing French intellectual Renaud Camus's fear of being "replaced" by immigrants as a motivation for his attack.

The Washington Post reported Friday that the 28-year-old self-described “regular white man from a regular family” left behind a more than 70-page manifesto prior to killing 49 Muslims inside two mosques.

Christchurch police confirmed that the suspect posted the manifesto and has since been charged with murder, the newspaper noted.

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The manifesto was entitled “The Great Replacement,” an apparent reference to the title of a book published in 2012 by Camus.

Camus’s book includes the “theory” that the European white majority is being replaced by many Muslim and nonwhite North African and sub-Saharan African immigrants, the Post noted.

The suspect reportedly wrote that a trip to France in 2017 convinced him that the country was under “invasion” by “nonwhites.”

“The final push was witnessing the state of French cities and towns. For many years I had been hearing and reading of the invasion of France by nonwhites, many of these rumours and stories I believed to be exaggerations, created to push a political narrative,” the suspect wrote.

“But once I arrived in France, I found the stories not only to be true, but profoundly understated,” he continued.

Camus condemned the violence in a phone call with the Post on Friday but said he did not object to how his “great replacement” ideology was being used.

“To the fact that people take notice of the ethnic substitution that is in progress in my country?” he asked. “No. To the contrary.”

Camus told the newspaper that he hoped the desire to “counterrevolt” against “colonization in Europe today” will grow.

“I hope it becomes stronger,” he said, claiming that this apparent “demographic colonization” was “20 times more important than the colonization Europe did to Africa, for example.”

Despite being an Australia native, the suspect reportedly also claimed that the 2017 French presidential election impacted his ideology, according France’s Le Point magazine translated by The Local.

The manifesto reportedly says a key moment for his radicalization included the defeat of right-wing leader Marine Le Pen to Emmanuel Macron during the presidential election.

The suspect reportedly wrote that after Macron’s election, his hope for "a democratic solution had vanished" and that he was "unable to accept the reality of the political situation in Europe."

At least 49 people were killed in the attack during Friday prayer services at the mosques in downtown Christchurch. As many as 40 others were seriously injured.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called it “one of New Zealand's darkest days” and described the violence as a terrorist attack.

She also raised the national security threat level to the second-highest level.