Conservative Facebook groups have reacted to the Christchurch massacre with a wave of sick jokes and Islamophobic conspiracy theories.
Rebecca D’Amato, administrator of the True Blue Tories group, appeared to suggest that Christchurch was a hoax, calling it “a stitch up”. Martin Oddy, a Conservative supporter who has helped organise events for Brexiteer MP Andrea Jenkyns, replied with the sick joke “shoe sale in New Zealand”.
Members of the Boris Johnson Supporters’ Group attacked Sadiq Khan for increasing the police presence at London mosques in the wake of the massacre, saying “the devil looks after his own”, “wants them to vote him in for a second term” and branding him “the enemy within”.
Comments on a now-deleted post in the Jacob Rees-Mogg Supporters’ Group, attacked the entire Muslim community saying, “Muslims playing the victim card yet again”, “ship the lot out, outlaw the faith” and “can’t be trusted”. Others appeared to support the attack, saying “you reap what you sow” and “the world is striking back.”
The comments included one from former Conservative councillor John Raper, who said “what about the Christians killed in church in Malaysia … oh yes a Muslim perp too.” In 2015 Raper was exposed has having made a series of Islamophobic Facebook posts for which he refused to apologise, but it appears that the Conservatives took no action against him until he resigned from the party over an unrelated incident two years later.
It is symptomatic of an approach to Islamophobia that has seen the Conservatives come under sustained criticism in recent weeks. The party’s chairman Brandon Lewis MP is yet to respond to details of fifteen members who made offensive posts presented to him by The Red Roar.