Even as New Zealand terror attack’s toll soared to 49, the focus is shifting to the assailant’s hate ideology and use of Ebba Åkerlund’ name for the dastardly attack. Ebba was an 11-year old girl killed in a 2017 terror attack in Sweden.

Police are paying more attention to the suspects' efforts to propagate hate ideology via social media.  

Australian arrested for murder

Police arrested a 28-year old Australian man and charged him with murder. He may be produced in the court on Saturday.  Four more people, including three men and a woman, had been detained. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed that one of the assailants is an Australian.

The gunman had streamed a live video of the attack on Facebook and posted his terror manifesto online.

According to TV reporter Sam Clarke, a man carrying an automatic weapon entered the mosque and started firing.

“A gunman - dressed in black with a helmet carrying a machine gun - came into the back of the mosque and started firing into the people praying there,” Clarke added.

According to the police chief, Mike Bush, 41 people were killed in the gun attack at Al Noor Mosque and seven at Linwood Mosque. Another victim died in the hospital.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called the attack as “an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence.”

Motivation from Ebba Akerlund’s murder

Reports say the assailant is a white supremacist. The gunman inscribed the name of Ebba Åkerlund onto the butt of his rifle.

The New Zealand gunman invoked Ebba’s name many times in the “manifesto” posted online defending the killing spree in Christchurch mosques.

The assailant wrote that his horrific shooting is a sequel to the Swedish terror attack that killed Ebba.

“That the difference was Ebba Akerlund. Young, innocent and dead Ebba whose death at the hands of the invaders, the indignity of her violent demise and my inability to stop it broke through my own jaded cynicism like a sledgehammer,” he wrote. 

That has been evident with al Qaeda and Islamic State cadres who often project images of mutilated toddlers to legitimize their mass murders.

Ebba’s father Stefan Åkerlund said he was mortified to see a terrorist using his daughter’s name. “How in the hell can we ever get to mourn in peace?” he asked.

Manifesto of horror

Ebba was crushed to death when an Uzbekistan asylum-seeker ran a beer truck on a Stockholm crowd. After death, Ebba became an idol on many hate websites and a tool to amplify white-supremacist anti-immigrant rhetoric.

The New Zealand attacker’s manifesto posted in social media reads like a self-interview. It claims that the attack drew inspiration from the Reborn Knights of Templar, making a vivid reference to the Biblical Crusades.