Melbourne [Australia], Mar 17 (ANI): An Australian senator has stirred up a controversy after he linked the deadly terror attacks at two mosques in New Zealand's Christchurch city with "immigration program which allowed Muslim fanatics to migrate to New Zealand in the first place."
Immediately after the senator made this statement, a teenager smashed a raw egg on the back side of the lawmaker's head, according to a video that went viral on social media.
Hours after the terror attack, Queensland Senator Fraser Anning, had issued a statement on March 15 condemning the "actions of the gunman", adding that he was "utterly opposed to any form of violence within our community."
However, Fraser said: "However, whilst this kind of violent vigilantism can never be justified, what it highlights is the growing fear within our community, both in Australia and New Zealand, of the increasing Muslim presence."
"The real cause of bloodshed on New Zealand streets today is the immigration program which allowed Muslim fanatics to migrate to New Zealand in the first place," he said.
He then made anti-Islam comments, saying the faith is the "religious equivalent of fascism".
During an event in Melbourne on Saturday, Anning was speaking to reporters at the sidelines, when a teenager filming him smashed a raw egg on the back side of the lawmaker's head, according to a video that went viral on social media.
Infuriated, Anning was seen landing blows on the boy's face and was taking another swing before the two were separated. The teenager was heckled by the authorities following the incident, the footage showed.
A political reporter of Australia's ABC News, Henry Belot, posted the video on his Twitter handle.
Several politicians in Australia and abroad strongly denounced the remarks made by Anning.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison wrote on his Twitter handle: "The remarks by Senator Fraser Anning blaming the murderous attacks by a violent, right-wing, extremist terrorist in New Zealand on immigration are disgusting. Those views have no place in Australia, let alone the Australian Parliament."
Morrison's predecessor Malcolm Turnbull echoed similar sentiments and said Anning was a "disgrace" to the country's Senate.
"Fraser Anning’s comments today are contemptible. He is a disgrace to the Senate and what is worse by spreading hatred and turning Australians against each other he is doing exactly what the terrorists want," he tweeted.
UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid, who is of Pakistani-origin also condemned the comments made by the Queensland Senator, saying: "At a time for grieving and reflection, this Australian senator @fraser_anning fans the flames of violence & extremism. Australians will be utterly ashamed of this racist man. In no way does he represent our Australian friends."
The incident comes hours after a 28-year-old Australian-born suspect, identified as Brenton Harrison Tarrant appeared before a Christchurch court on murder charges connected with Friday's terror attacks in Christchurch, which left at least 49 people dead. He was remanded in custody without plea until April 5.
The terror attack suspect, who live-streamed for about 17 minutes his rampage through two mosques in the city, is an Australian-born citizen and is a resident of Dunedin, situated around 360 km south of Christchurch.
Tarrant was wearing white prison clothing and was barefoot and handcuffed.
Flanked by two police officers, the accused apparently showed no signs of remorse as he smirked when media persons photographed him during the hearing and was seen making the white power gesture.
In the worst ever terror attack in New Zealand, multiple gunmen carried out indiscriminate shootings at two mosques in Christchurch during the Friday prayers, leaving 49 people dead and at least 48 wounded, besides giving a scare to the Bangladesh cricket team which had a narrow escape.
Using automatic weapons, the gunmen, four of who were initially taken into custody, launched a "well-planned" attack on the mosques when devotees had assembled for the weekly prayers.
According to the police, 41 people were killed at Al Noor mosque and seven at Linwood mosque while one injured died in a hospital.
Several guns have been recovered from both mosques, while, two explosive devices were found on two vehicles at the scene, one of which was defused, the police confirmed.
Condemning the terror strike, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had described the attack as "one of New Zealand's darkest days" and said it “appears to have been well planned”. She asserted that the country “will not and cannot be shaken” by the attack. (ANI)