Vancouver mayor describes New Zealand mosque attacks as "Islamophobia stoked by unchecked white supremacism"

Kennedy Stewart says the tragedy is a reminder that no place is safe from hatred

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      The flag is flying at half-mast today at Vancouver City Hall following the devastating attacks on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.

      In a statement, Vancouver mayor Kennedy Stewart declared that the mass muder must be called out for what it is: "Islamophobia stoked by unchecked white supremacism."

      "I’ve offered my deepest condolences to Mayor Lianne Dalziel and the people of Christchurch and I know our entire city is thinking of the victims and their loved ones," Stewart said.

      The mayor also said he's been in contact with the Vancouver Police Department and has assured the public that it's working with the Muslim community "to ensure everyone feels safe and supported".

      “This tragedy is a reminder that no place is safe from hatred and that we in Vancouver must resolve today and every day to naming it and fighting it," Stewart said. "I hope everyone takes a moment to think about how we can be the best neighbours and friends possible as we continue to build a city that is welcoming and safe for all."

      Stewart released his statement about an hour after the U.S.-based Southern Poverty Law Centre issued a stark warning.

      "The atrocity in New Zealand shows us, once again, that we’re dealing with an international terrorist movement linked by a dangerous white supremacist ideology that’s metastasizing in the echo chambers of Internet chat rooms and on social media networks," SPLCpresident Richard Cohen wrote. "This hatred is even being amplified by our own president, who speaks of an 'invasion of our country'."

      Cohen noted that the alleged killer celebrated Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik and Charleston terrorist Dylann Roof.

      "On his weapon, the killer wrote the white supremacist slogan known as the 14 words – 'We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children' – coined by the infamous neo-Nazi terrorist David Lane," Cohen continued.

      He concluded by saying what's called "domestic terrorism" must be viewed through a global lens, just as law-enforcement agencies do with ISIS.

      According to Cohen, that's "because the growing white supremacist movement represents a clear and present threat to democracies across the world".