Spotlight turns to Europe after Christchurch mosque attacks

Renaud Camus denied claims his anti-immigration views influenced Brenton Tarrant

CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND - MARCH 18: A poster is left seen on the wall at the Botanic Gardens on March 18, 2019 in Christchurch, New Zealand. 50 people are confirmed dead, with with 36 injured still in hospital following shooting attacks on two mosques in Christchurch on Friday, 15 March. 41 of the victims were killed at Al Noor mosque on Deans Avenue and seven died at Linwood mosque. Another victim died later in Christchurch hospital. A 28-year-old Australian-born man, Brenton Tarrant, appeared in Christchurch District Court on Saturday charged with murder. The attack is the worst mass shooting in New Zealand's history. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

A French writer and philosopher with a cult online following has been forced to deny claims he could have inspired the man that murdered at least 50 people at Christchurch mosques in New Zealand last Friday.

Renaud Camus, 72, coined the term ‘The Great Replacement’ in reference to the theory that white, Anglo-Saxon populations mainly in Western Europe and being replaced by mass immigration.

Brenton Tarrant, the 28-year-old Australian that attacked the mosque, detailing his anger at the supposed changes society through a manifesto also titled ‘The Great Replacement.’

Mr Camus said he was “totally non-violent” and deplored the “appalling, criminal disastrous and idiotic terrorist acts”.

Authorities believe Tarrant was radicalised in 2017 during two-month European tour that included time in France. British officials believe he spent a few weeks in the UK and it is also now known he visited Bulgaria and Romania.

Mr Camus has talked of his fears that Europeans are suffering from an ethnic "substitution” and believes it is happening in most of the countries on the west side of the continent. The writer is a vociferous user of Twitter and has over 25,000 followers.

In his manifesto Tarrant complained that not a single Western county or “white nation” has high enough birth rates to match the “invasion” caused by immigration.

The day after the Christchurch attack Mr Camus tweeted that he was “very concerned about our Muslim friends,” suggesting they should retreat to a “vast fortress” called the ‘land of Islam’ where they can live in safety and in accordance with their religious events.

Speaking to AFP on the same day he said: "If he wrote a pamphlet titled 'The Great Replacement" it's blatant plagiarism ... of a phrase that doesn't belong to him and he doesn't understand.”

"At the centre of my work is the concept of innocence, which is to say, of non-aggravation, non-violence," he added.
Mr Camus argued that, if anything, Tarrant could have been motivated by the attacks inspired by ISIS on France in recent years.

"I don't see why he would be more inspired by me than by the attacks which directly resemble the one he committed.”

According to the manifesto, Tarrant became entrenched in the white supremacist movement after a trip to France in the summer of 2017. He wrote that stories of a so-called Muslim "invasion" of France were not only true "but profoundly understated".
He had also said how saddened he was at the defeat by Marine Le Pen, the anti-immigration politician, in French elections.
"The truth of the political situation in Europe was suddenly impossible to accept. My despair set in. My belief in a democratic solution vanished," he wrote.