Austria Raids Far-Right Identitarian Leader over Donation by New Zealand Attacker Brenton Tarrant
A donation of EUR 1,500 from Tarrant from over a year ago has thrown suspicions over Martin Sellner.
Austria’s police have raided the Vienna apartment of Austrian Identitarian Movement leader Martin Sellner over a tangible donation supposedly linked to Brenton Tarrant, the Australian man who is the suspect in the March 15, 2019, terrorist attack against two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.
The Identitarian Movement, sometimes referred to in media as “far-right hipsters”, is a pan-European movement started in France in 2003, with its Austrian branch presently being the most prominent.
While maintaining it is not racist, the Identitarian Movement advocates a white Europe, fearing that the continent is being transformed into an “Islamic land” through what they call the “great replacement” conspiracy to substitute Europe’s white Christian population with Muslims from Asia and Africa.
Among other things, in Austria the Identitarian Movement organizes marches commemorating the anniversaries since the defeat of the Ottoman Turks during the siege of Vienna in 1683.
Austrian authorities confirmed on Tuesday that they had raided the Vienna home of Martin Sellner, the leader of Austria’s Identitarians, seizing computers and cellphones as part of an ongoing investigation, as cited by DW.
The reason for the police probe is a donation of EUR 1,500 (USD 1,700) the group received in early 2018 from an email linked to Brenton Tarrant, the 28-year-old suspected terrorist, whose attack against the two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, killed 50 people and injured 50 others.
Austrian Identitarian Movement leader Sellner is thus under an investigation of being part of a terrorist organization or seeking to establish one, revealed Hansjörg Bacher, a spokesman for Austrian prosecutors
Sellner himself was quick to deny any connection to Christchurch massacre suspect Brenton Tarrant.
“I have nothing to do with the terrorist attack. I will pass on the sum to a charitable organization,” he said, adding that his group’s anti-immigration activities were peaceful.
The leader of the Austrian Identitarians, however, pledged his group would keep fighting against the “great replacement”, a term which also the title of the manifest of the suspected Christchurch terrorist.
After his arrest for the attack in New Zealand, Brenton Tarrant was found to have visited numerous sites throughout Eastern Europe, including Vienna, the Balkans, and Turkey, connected with the historical wars between Christians and Muslims.
“Any connection between the Christchurch attacker and members of the Identitarians in Austria must be comprehensively and ruthlessly investigated,” Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz tweeted.
“There must be total clarity about all extremist activities,” added the Austrian leader, head of the conservative Austrian People’s Party (OeVP).
Kurz’s governing coalition includes the far-right and nationalist Freedom Party, with which the Identitarian Movement is said to have certain ideological points in common.
(Banner image: Martin Sellner on Twitter)