When a racist slogan went viral - to lethal effect

White supremacists opposed to the removal of a Confederate monument taking part in a demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Aug 12, 2017. One of the slogans chanted by the white nationalists - "You will not replace us" - was a variation on a
White supremacists opposed to the removal of a Confederate monument taking part in a demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Aug 12, 2017. One of the slogans chanted by the white nationalists - "You will not replace us" - was a variation on a theme started by French writer Renaud Camus. PHOTO: NYTIMES

Every wave of terrorism has its intellectual point of departure. For Al-Qaeda's attacks in the West, it was Osama bin Laden's seminal Declaration of Jihad of 1996; in the case of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria-inspired terrorism, it was the announcement of the Islamic caliphate in 2014.

The current wave of white-supremacist terrorism, which recently manifested itself in lethal attacks against mosques in New Zealand and a synagogue near San Diego, can be traced back to a much less well-known event.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 16, 2019, with the headline 'When a racist slogan went viral - to lethal effect'. Subscribe