Brenton Tarrant, the terrorist of the New Zealand Christchurch massacre who killed 51 people in different mosques last year, was sentenced to life in prison without parole today. The verdict will no doubt provide some solace and closure to the survivors of the attacks, as well as to families of the victims. However, the phenomenon that produced him continues, and the question remains: how long will it continue before we address not simply the end result of this kind of bigotry, but the causes of it?
It is not as though this was the first time such a massacre took place. Almost a decade ago, a Norwegian Islamophobic white supremacist carried out one of the brutal terrorist attacks on European soil in recent history. Anders Behring Breivik detonated a bomb in Oslo, murdering 8 people; he then went to a youth camp, and killed another 69. His motivations were all clearly laid out in the manifesto he deliberately left for people to find. He was a bigot who hated Muslims, lauded white supremacy, and viewed himself as a soldier in a new crusade to save western civilisation.