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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

49 Dead, Dozens Wounded in New Zealand Mosque Terror Attacks; President Trump Says Nationalism Is Not A Rising Threat After White Nationalist Kills 49 In New Zealand Mosque Attacks; 49 Dead In Massacre At New Zealand Mosques. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired March 15, 2019 - 20:00   ET


[20:00:19] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: There is no gentle way to begin the hour except to say that we will try as best we can to tell you about and honor the lives of the 49 people murdered in the anti-Muslim terrorist attacks this morning at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. They were shot and killed in the very place for some perhaps the only place they could come once a week to make sense of the world and make peace with themselves.

There's not much we know about the victims at this point. We wish we could tell you more about who they were in life to give you a sense of what has now been taken away.

So, how then do we honor them tonight?

Well, at the very least we're not going to insult their memory by suggesting they died as a result of an isolated individual acting for incomprehensible reasons as if he were some human version of a natural disaster that randomly strikes from time to time.

If reports, including the so-called manifesto he apparently left, are to be believed, the man who fired shot after shot after hundreds of men, women and children at prayer, targeted them for a clear set of reasons and was inspired it now appears by a consistent hateful and contagious world view. He did it, live streamed part of it which we're obviously not showing because of who these people were. He did it because of the god they worshipped and because of the threat he seemed to think they posed to the white race.

To him, a 3-year-old immigrant girl was a threat, as was her father, as were their neighbors. That thinking is obviously racist and it's repugnant but to say that it's random or sprang from nowhere, that dishonors the facts as we are learning them, just as it dishonors the lives that were lost.

Just before the attack, an account believed to belong to the gunman post a link to an 87-page white nationalist manifesto that plays up the notion of white genocide, the idea that whites are being replaced by others, invaders, Muslim invaders, which sounds very similar to the postings of the alleged tree of life synagogue killer who wrote this about the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, which the congregation supported.

HIAS, he wrote, likes to bring invaders in that kill our people. Open your eyes. It's the filthy evil Jews bringing the filthy evil Muslims into the country.

The man who murdered six men at a mosque in Quebec City, Canada, told police he feared Muslim immigrants would attack his family. I was sure about that, he told police, that's why I had to do something.

It would be easy to dismiss him as a moron and an idiot, but he's not alone. There is a common thread, whether it's there, a synagogue in Pittsburgh, or two mosques in New Zealand, immigrants as invaders, whites as victims under attack by Muslims and others. It may take a deranged individual to act it out but it seems obtuse to deny these are the messages these terrorists are getting and spreading and shedding blood over.

Yet, for much of today, that's what the president of the United States did. In tweets, he did not call what happened today a terrorist act. Although he mentioned it happened at two mosques, he did not acknowledge the faith of the victims by name, say the word Muslim or say that the country stands with the Muslim community.

When asked later about the shooter's racist ideology and the seeming rise in white nationalist motivated violence, here's what the president said.


REPORTER: Do you see today white nationalism as a rising threat around the world?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't really. I think it's a small group of people that have very, very serious problems.

I guess if you look at what happened in New Zealand, perhaps that's the case. I don't know enough about it yet. They're just learning about the person and the people involved. But it's certainly a terrible thing, terrible thing.


COOPER: A terrible thing, he called it, but not something that he knows enough about yet. That's what he said earlier this afternoon.

Now, it's rare that the president decides not to speak out against or for something, because he doesn't know enough about it. As a candidate, he didn't wait for investigators to weigh in before labeling the shooting of 14 people in the San Bernardino, California, terrorist attack. He called it, I'm quoting, radical Islamic terrorism. Then referring to the suspects he added, quote, I mean, you look at the names, you look at what's happened, you tell me. A short time later he called for a ban on Muslims entering the country. So there's that.

And earlier today, senior advisor Mercedes Schlapp said falsely the president made it very clear that this was a terrorist attack, which he had not, not at that point. He only did that after receiving criticism, questions about it, finally calling it, quote, monstrous terror attacks during his remarks this afternoon.

Schlapp also said the president has repeatedly condemned bigotry and racism, which is only true when he's not also saying, as he did at the white supremacist chanting "Jews will not replace us" in Charlottesville that there were fine people among them.

According to the most recent figures from the FBI, hate crimes in this country rose 17 percent in 2017 compared to the year before. And newly released data from the Anti-Defamation League shows white supremacist propaganda efforts in neighborhoods and on campus increased 182 percent in this country last year.

Of course, online, each new hate crime spreads worldwide. The New Zealand gunman's manifesto references some of them, including the Charleston church shooting, as well as attacks on immigrants in Italy, the attack at a mosque in London.

President Trump doesn't seem to make the same connections nor see the same pattern that many of these killers openly acknowledge. Even be exceedingly generous about his motives and any conceivable reason he might have to tiptoe around the subject, you would think he would find a way if not to comfort the survivors, at least acknowledge the faith they were practicing. Instead, those remarks you heard were made as he vetoed the bill on his border emergency, during which he referred to immigrant invaders and criminals bent on murdering Americans, Central Americans, not Muslims, but the imagery and implied threat nearly identical.

By contrast, just days after this country actually had been attacked by Muslim terrorists, here's how President George W. Bush responded at a local mosque in Washington.


GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT: Women who cover their heads in this country must feel comfortable going outside their homes. Moms who wear cover must not be intimidated in America. That's not the America I know. That's not the America I value.

I've been told that some fear to leave. Some don't want to go shopping for their families. Some don't want to go about their ordinary daily routines because by wearing cover they're afraid they'll be intimidated. That should not and will not stand in America.

Those who feel like they can intimidate our fellow citizens that take out their anger don't represent the best in America, they represent the worst of humankind, and they should be ashamed of that kind of behavior.


COOPER: It seems like a long time ago that kind of talk. We'll talk about what other presidents, Republican and Democratic, have understood about hate crimes and how this president compares. We'll speak more broadly with experts on the global threat. We'll talk with a man who lost a friend at one of the mosques today and speak to a witness.

First, though, how this terrible morning unfolded in Christchurch, our Randi Kaye has that.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): One-forty p.m. in New Zealand, in the Al Noor Mosque in the community of Christchurch is under attack in the middle of Friday prayers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody just run toward the back doors to save themselves.

KAYE: The shooting lasts 10 or 15 minutes. At the first mosque --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was just continuously shooting and coming inside slowly because he was killing all the people who are in the entrance.

KAYE: Shortly after 2:00 p.m., schools in the area are on lockdown. Soon after, residents are told to stay indoors.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Plus, we hide behind the cars and under the cars and then when we see the firing is still going, we try to jump the fence.

KAYE: In all the chaos, desperation and determination to survive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I smashed the window, just jumping and people waiting outside, they run away from the mosque. I say what's going on? They say just run away.

KAYE: The shooter appears to fire randomly, both inside and outside the mosque. Before he leaves he shoots a woman on the sidewalk from a distance and then moves closer to deliver the fatal shot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was thinking that he must run out of bullets, you know. So what I did was basically waiting for that and praying to God, oh, God, please, now, let this guy run out of bullets.

KAYE: At a second mosque, this man says he saw someone grab the shooter's gun.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was one young guy who usually takes care of mosque and helps in parking and other stuff. So he saw an opportunity and pounced over him and grabbed his gun.

REPORTER: Grabbed the gun from his hands as he was shooting?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Grabbed the gun -- yes.

KAYE: Police go into lockdown. Boy the time it's over, 49 people are dead.

Dozens, including children with gunshot wounds, are admitted to Christchurch hospital for treatment. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Injuries ranging from gunshot wounds to the head

and face, arms, leg and torso and soft tissue injuries.

KAYE: Investigators recover weapons at both locations, plus two improvised explosive devices attached to a vehicle. Police arrest a 28-year-old man now charged with murder. Two others are arrested for suspected weapons possession. None of them had been on any security watch list.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We had -- no agency had any information about these people.

KAYE: Long after the shooting is over, some from inside the mosque still aren't answering their phones, leaving loved ones to wonder, are they alive?

[20:10:05] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I tried the mosque and saw police outside, so we've just been waiting here just to see if our son is all right but he's not answering his phone.

KAYE: Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.


COOPER: Well, a moment ago, you heard from a survivor of the second mosque. His name is Syed Mazharuddin. I spoke with him by phone earlier this evening.


SYED MAZHARUDDIN, MOSQUE ATTACK SURVIVOR (via telephone): There was a small room next to the main door and I quickly took cover. I could see him shooting people right from there. He was with the armor raised and he had a gun and he was wearing a helmet with a camera.

At that moment, as he was stepping inside the mosque, I was -- I didn't see that. I just saw when he was trying to step in and somebody from the back, I believe it was a Pakistani, and he pounced him from the back and he snagged his gun. He panicked and threw his guns and started to escape.

People started chasing him. I think they couldn't handle the gun. By the time he was already out and I had all my friends lying down in a pool of blood. One was shot on his head, the other on his shoulders.

I was trying to see where the bleeding was coming from. I was asking him about the wound, but he couldn't tell me. I came out and started to call the ambulance. Just then within a few minutes, the police came and they covered (ph) the area.

COOPER: Let me ask you, do you know how long the shooting went on for? I mean, often, it's hard to tell time, you lose a accepts sense of time in a situation like this. But do you have any sense how long he was there targeting people?

MAZHARUDDIN: Six or seven minutes. (END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Well, it is now Saturday afternoon in Christchurch and CNN's Alexandra Field is there for us.

What is the situation there right now, Alexandra?

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, we actually just saw a hearse cross through that police tape making its way to that mosque just down the street where more than 40 people were shot and killed.

Anderson, I cannot say it enough. We are used to the scenes of horror and devastation brought on by mass shootings in the United States. They are simply left in shock by it here in New Zealand.

This is the vigil that has started to form here. You can see the flowers left behind but perhaps most poignantly, that sign which really cuts to the heart of it. This is not New Zealand.

We're seeing officers with semiautomatic weapons down this street, security still being kept high, but that is a wholly unfamiliar sight in New Zealand. What strikes me the most being out here is how incredibly quiet it has been today. It is hard to imagine.

It defies belief that just 24 hours ago or so, people were reporting hearing 10 or 15 minutes of gunshots, because you hear almost nothing right now.

I've talked to people who are coming by to leave flowers and to pay respects. It's hard for them to find words because they haven't seen this here before, Anderson.

COOPER: There are still dozens of people in the hospital, last I heard.

FIELD: Yes. There are more than 40 people who are in the hospital injured. We're waiting to hear more about their conditions. We're also waiting to learn a lot more about the people who died inside these two mosques.

We know that they come from a number of different countries. You heard the prime minister talking about how many of these are people who chose New Zealand to be their home. What I'm hearing from community members is these are people who were embraced as part of this community.

I asked a couple of people, did you know anyone who was inside that mosque? One person told me that is beside the point. They lived here. This is their home. This is our home.

There is absolute heartbreak being felt.

Another interesting thing I've seen out here, Anderson, is how many people are bringing their children out here. A lot of children were in lockdowns in their schools yesterday. They had never been in a situation like that before. I asked their parents why they're bringing young kids out here. And

one parent told me, it's because this is a problem that will be inherited by the next generation. He called it a filthy international disease that has now reached New Zealand.

COOPER: Yes. Alexandra, I appreciate it, thanks.

We'll have more now on how today's tragedy fits in the larger pattern that President Trump does not care to mention.

Joining us now is former -- joining us earlier was FBI supervisory special agent Ali Soufan. Among other incidents he's investigated and supervised, the probes into the USS Cole bombing and the events surrounding 9/11.


COOPER: Ali, someone whose life work has been studying global extremism, I wonder first of all what your reaction was when you heard about this attack and who was behind it?

ALI SOUFAN, FORMER FBI SUPERVISORY AGENT: It's a horrific attack. I think I had no doubt in my mind that the person behind it will be a white supremacist.

[20:15:02] This is not the first one against, you know, an ethnic minority conducted by a white supremacist. We've seen that against Christians in Charleston and Jews in Pittsburgh, Muslims in Quebec.

And this movement, unfortunately, has been on the rise not only in the United States but also in the West and across Western democracies.

COOPER: Which gets me to my next question, because the president has commented today of all days saying that he does not see white nationalism as a rising threat around the world. Just in terms of numbers, it would seem to tell a different story.

SOUFAN: It's very disappointed that the president said that. I mean, if we look at the ADL numbers, 73.3 percent of all terrorist attacks in the last ten years were conducted by white supremacists and right- wing extremists. So many of our allies around the world have taken the threat seriously.

Unfortunately, in the United States, we are not taking it as a priority. We don't have any legislation to deal with these kind of domesticated groups the same way we deal with Islamic extremists, for example.

COOPER: So you think there needs to be some sort of a shift in or an enlargening in the way the law enforcement views and combats right- wing extremists domestically?

SOUFAN: Absolutely. Law enforcement have been doing an amazing job in the United States. I mean, the FBI have been doing amazing, great operations in arresting and tackling these guys. But, you know, it's all limited. It's all focused on a specific, you know, field office here and there.

It's not connected to a national strategy or a federal strategy or a priority by the federal government. We don't see that. I think we need to shift that focus when it comes to the white supremacist. We need to acknowledge its existence, not like the president, you know, just said today.

COOPER: You're saying this is a global network of right-wing extremists or white nationalists communicating, what, via online? Obviously we think about something like ISIS as a global ideology that, you know, we have seep pop up in many places. You're saying essentially white nationalism, white extremists, neo-Nazis, that is the same kind of global phenomenon?

SOUFAN: Yes, absolutely. And they communicate not only on social media, but they coordinate with each other. There is travel patterns, for example, of people going and visiting groups here in the United States.

So, these networks are operating in plain sights, they are taking advantage of the political divisions and the social divisions that exist. And they are taking advantage of demagogues and politicians, fanning the flames of hate.

COOPER: You know, clearly people who are not supporters of President Trump will want to point to his rhetoric as a reason why the U.S. is not focusing on right-wing extremism or white supremacists as much as you say it should be done. Is that a fair criticism?

SOUFAN: Now, the rhetoric of President Trump definitely is helping to make these hate groups feel more emboldened, as we've seen in Charlottesville and other places, as we've seen in the manifest of this criminal in New Zealand. This is very dangerous. We need to pay attention to this.

But I believe the issue of ignoring the threat of white supremacists has been going on for a few decades. And I think now the chickens are coming to roost.

COOPER: It's important.

Ali Soufan, I appreciate it. Thank you.

SOUFAN: Thank you, Anderson. Thanks a lot.


COOPER: Ali mentioned the president's comments about the attack. We'll go to the White House and get report from our Jim Acosta about reaction to those comments and talk about what the killer himself said about President Trump.


[20:22:47] COOPER: President Trump reached out to the New Zealand prime minister today saying the United States stands, quote, ready to help. The killer's manifesto mentions President Trump calling him, quote, a symbol of white renewed identity and common purpose, unquote.

Jim Acosta is at the White House for us tonight.

Jim, has the White House said anything about the reference to the president in this so-called manifesto?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: The president was asked about it, Anderson, and he said he hadn't read it. But the White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, she was asked about this earlier in the day, and she was urging reporters to read the entire manifesto and there were parts that said that this killer was an eco terrorist, she said, and so on.

She was really looking past the language in this manifesto that was describing the president as sort of a hero to people who identify with their white heritage. What was also striking, Anderson, in that manifesto was that the killer was using term like invaders and invasion when talking about immigration and the immigration issue, almost the same kind of language that the president was using today when he was vetoing that legislation, rebuking his use of a national emergency declaration to build his wall on the border.

So, the White House can't whitewash the white nationalism every time, Anderson.

COOPER: I mean, as we heard earlier, the president claimed today that white nationalism is not a rising threat in his opinion around the world.

ACOSTA: That's right. And that obviously stood out as just being contrary to the facts. As we know from recent studies and even FBI statistics in just the last couple of years, that all shows that white nationalism, that right-wing extremism is on the rise not only here in the United States but around the world. If you look at what's happened here in the U.S., whether it's the neo-Nazi violence on the streets of Charlottesville, the Tree of Life synagogue shooting last year, even the attempted pipe bomb attack on CNN and other Democratic targets, Anderson, that is right-wing extremism violence, the kind that is on the rise here in the U.S. and around the world, whether or not the president likes to admit to it or not.

COOPER: Jim Acosta, thanks. I want to get perspective now from "USA Today" columnist Kirsten Powers, and "Washington Post" columnist Max Boot, the author of "The Corrosion of Conservatism: Why I Left the Right".

Max, what do you think it is about the president that prompts white nationalists and white supremacists to use his rhetoric whether or not -- you know, as a vehicle to promote violence even if it's not what the president intended?

[20:25:10] MAX BOOT, COLUMNIST, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Well, this is a president who's built his entire political career on racism and anti-Islamic bigotry. I men, remember, he rose as a political candidate with this crazy birtherism theory about Barack Obama, but he also did it by calling for a complete and total shutdown of all Muslims coming into the United States. He said that Islam hates us. He has done and said a lot of things that are very congruent with the kind of ideology that these white supremacists actually have, which is not to say that it's exactly the same thing. There's enough overlap that they take inspiration from his words.

COOPER: You know, Kirsten, normally, you know, I would say it's hard to draw a straight line from what these terrorists are espousing to what the president has said. You know, to blame him if others chose to use his words in ways that he's not explicitly saying.

Then today just as he's talking about this and on this day when New Zealand and people around the world are mourning and this person in New Zealand did this talking about invaders, the president is talking about invaders.

POWERS: Right, yes. Yes, certainly, they share concerns, right? I think that's fair enough to say.

I don't think you can blame Donald Trump for this attack. I think you can blame Donald Trump for really trafficking in bigotry and Islamophobia, wanting to ban all Muslims as he said during the campaign. So they have maybe some things in common in terms of how they think about people. That doesn't make him responsible for this, but that doesn't make him not responsible for the things that he says.

The idea that the president of the United States can say things, constantly attacking different groups of people and demonizing them and treating them as invaders into the country, facts be damned, you know, I think it just would be silly to pretend that that doesn't have any impact on anybody.

And whatever -- however Donald Trump identifies himself, all we know for sure is that the white supremacists see him as an ally. So, there's just no question about that. You know, Rosie Gray wrote a story a while back around the Charlottesville incident interviewing different leaders in the so-called alt-right white supremacist movement. And they heard him quite clearly, what he said. They were very energized by him saying there's very fine people on both sides.

So, and he's not a dummy, right? I mean, he does understand what he's doing. He does understand when he says these things that these people are energized. He chooses to not stop. He chooses to not condemn them. He chooses to not go out of his way to identify this threat in this country, which is a large threat, which is white nationalism.

COOPER: It's also interesting, Max, I mean, in the wake of Charlottesville as we've talked about often, he had -- there were two opportunities he had in which to just full stop say, you know, this is abhorrent, white supremacists, white nationalism, there's no room for it in America. And yet both times, he kind of went off script and said, you know, very fine people on both sides.

It was interesting to hear George W. Bush, to replay earlier what we did, George W. Bush several days after 9/11 inside a mosque definitively saying, people who would attack somebody who's wearing a hijab is not that's not America. It's the worst of humanity. BOOT: Right. That was a real service to play that clip, Anderson,

because it's a reminder of how a normal president is supposed to sound. It reminds you how different Donald Trump is from a normal president. One of the striking things about him is that he has a real double standard when it comes to acts of violence, because we know whenever there's any attack perpetrated anywhere in the world by somebody of the Muslim faith, he is immediately on twitter screaming about radical Islamic terrorism.

But when it comes to something like this, he says, oh, it's a terrible, terrible thing, as if it's a natural disaster, but he never names the thing, Anderson. He never says what is that terrible thing, which we know is anti-Muslim bigotry, which we know is white supremacist ideology. He doesn't call that out. And by not calling it out, he is tacitly somehow giving a license to it and not -- failing to call it out, he is not devoting the resources of the federal government towards combating this menace. I mean, think of how many efforts we make to stop jihadist terrorism and that's appropriate, that is a real threat.

But we don't have a comparable effort in this government to combat right-wing white supremacist terrorism, even though as Ali Soufan was pointing out in the previous segment, 70 percent of the victims of terrorism in this country in the last 10 years have been victims of radical right-wing terrorism. That's a threat hiding in plain sight which we're ignoring and Donald Trump seems to have no interest in tackling that threat.

[20:30:00] COOPER: I mean, Kirsten, if, you know, the President knows that his words are being used by white nationalists, whether it's fair or not, you would think he would want to, you know, give a speech and just play it all out, you know, naming names of who does not speak for him and, you know, why he finds things reprehensible. I mean, rather than saying I condemn all forms of something, to actually get specific, at least to try to make it clear to people who are using his name to, you know, push their own racist ideology.

KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: But he's been given opportunities to do this. I mean, I remember when the journalist Julia Ioffe was under attack because she wrote a critical piece about -- or she wrote a piece about Melania, that Melania found critical and her supporters found critical and she was getting death threats and all these anti-Semitic attacks that were just absolutely heinous. And he was asked about it. And he said I don't have a message for my fans.

So, you know, he had an opportunity there to condemn it. And not only did he not condemn it, he accepted that these people are his fans.

COOPER: Right.

POWERS: And, you know, so I think that you're right, if he wanted to do that, he would do that. He understands what's going on. This is not -- he's not just some clueless person who doesn't see what's happening. He is intentionally not condemning it the way he condemns all of these other things that he claimed are happening, like the national emergency that isn't an emergency but he will talk about pretty much everything that bothers him but this.

MAX BOOT, JEANE J. KIRKPATRICK SENIOR FELLOW IN NATIONAL SECURITY STUDIES, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: Right. And I would say that the way that he winks at or does more than wink at, really encourages this anti-Islamic sentiment finds a receptive audience in a lot of his base. I mean, just think of what's happened in the last few weeks where you had Jeanine Pirro on Fox News saying that it was, you know, un-American essentially to wear a hijab attacking a Muslim congresswoman or you have the comments that surface with Tucker Carlson calling Iraqis primitive monkeys. I mean, so the fact that Donald Trump is really an Islamophobe is something that a lot of his base applauds and he doesn't want to challenge their prejudices.

COOPER: Max Boot, Kirsten Powers, thank you.

Just ahead, breaking news from the FBI on all of these. We want to bring you that. Also to Max's point, though President Trump doesn't believe white nationalism is on the rise globally, there's plenty of evidence to the contrary. Coming up, several cases in point.


COOPER: We have more breaking news tonight. The FBI is taking action here in the U.S. after today's attacks in New Zealand. There's live pictures from Christchurch, New Zealand, the makeshift memorial that has been growing early by the hour.

[20:35:07] Joining us now is Former FBI Supervisor Special Agent Josh Campbell. He's currently a CNN Law Enforcement Analyst. So what are you learning, Josh?

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Anderson, we're learning about the FBI's posture in response to the attack there in New Zealand. We're told from a law enforcement official that the FBI is currently scrubbing its intelligence databases in order to identify any possible U.S. connections to that attack. Now, we're also told that the FBI headquarters officials are actually directing field offices to scrub their case files, to go through a lot of these systems in order to determine whether there are subjects here in the United States who may pose a threat, who may fit this mold, possibly attacking religious institutions or conducting some type of retaliatory attack.

Now we're also told in addition to that, they're proactively telling their field office agents to go out and talk to their sources. The human informants in order to gather any information that may help officials in New Zealand, that may help officials here in the United States. And then lastly, we're told that they are closely latched up with officials in New Zealand. As you know, they're part of this intelligence sharing arrangement on a daily basis. They provide information on the different threat matrix documents and files.

They're told now -- we are told now that they are actually working in concert with New Zealand officials and will be sharing information as they get it in realtime, Anderson.

COOPER: All right, Josh Campbell, appreciate the breaking news.

That long manifesto left by the New Zealand shooter is filled with anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim rhetoric. And ideas all too devastatingly familiar against the backdrop of what -- despite what President Trump is saying appears, in fact, to be a rise in white nationalist attacks across the globe.

Here's CNN's Chief International Correspondent Clarissa Ward.


UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKERS (in unison): Jews will not replace us. Jews will not replace us.

CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Chants on the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia, echoed in a suspected terrorist manifesto thousands of miles away.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will not be replaced.

WARD (voice-over): White supremacists and neo-nazis, who believe their culture is being erased by a growing population of minorities. In chat rooms and on the dark web, they talk about the invasion of Muslim migrants, who threaten to replace them. One of their greatest inspirations, the Norwegian white supremacist who murdered nearly 70 students at a summer camp in 2011, a massacre he said was intended to defend western civilization from a growing policy of multi- culturalism. Across the west, the far right is on the rise, bringing with it a vicious optic in hate crimes and terrorist attacks.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We can even say for the price --

CLARISSA (voice-over): Just in 2017, Muslims were targeted and killed in a Quebec Islamic center, and in London's Finsbury Park. And on a train in Portland, Oregon, a man shouting anti-Muslim slurs fatally stabbed two people.

Last year in Berlin, we attended a rally of hundreds of right-wing extremists. Close the border, they shouted, resistance, resistance. Their hatred is not reserved for Muslim migrants. This man told us a shadowy cabal of globalists controls the world.

(on camera): So when you talk about the elites and you talk about finance, is that another way of saying Jewish people?


WARD (on camera): Yes?


WARD (on camera): It is.

(voice-over): Yes. Let me say it this way. The banking system for sure, he tells us. Banks finance the economy, mainly Jews. In his 87-page manifesto, the suspected terrorist praised his predecessors and made nods to the online community that nurtured and shared his extremist views. But their ideology of hate has creeped out of the margins into the mainstream and is growing.


COOPER: Clarissa, in your piece you mentioned the shooter's so-called manifesto, they called out specific influences of hate from other incidences all around the world.

WARD: That's right. He was definitely very much inspired, according to this manifesto, by the events in Norway back in 2011 that we talked to, by the terrible shooting in that church in South Carolina that we talked to as well. But what also becomes apparent, Anderson, when you're flipping through all 87 pages here is that there is a language that supporters of this right-wing extremist ideology use to communicate. There are all sorts of tropes, some of them esoteric historical references to the crusades, to events during the Ottoman Empire, also a lot of references to Serbian nationalism, to internet memes and there are now corners of the dark web, Anderson, where these groups are really engaging in lively conversations with each other using often this kind of coded language which at its root is hatred terrorist ideology, Anderson.

[20:40:04] COOPER: And the web allows people to connect globally who share these thoughts. Clarissa, I appreciate it. Thank you, Clarissa Ward.

Well, it is awful days like this, of course, the defy common sense. Joining me now is Maajid Nawaz, himself, a former member of an Islamist organization, now a leading critic of that kind of dogma. And as we talk to Maajid, we're also showing you live images of the memorial outside or near the mosque where people are coming to pay their respects in Christchurch, New Zealand. Maajid, what do you believe is behind this growth of far-right hate that we're seeing happen globally?

MAAJID NAWAZ, AUTHOR, "RADICAL: MY JOURNEY OUT OF ISLAMIST EXTREMISM": Well, Anderson, as one of your previous commentator Ali Soufan mentioned, I believe this mirrors the radicalization that we've been speaking about over the last decade within Muslim communities. The same processes, the same causes and the factors involved are now being replicated on the far-right and actually governments need to start responding to this. Whereas the largest threat in proportionate terms still remains jihadist terrorism and groups like ISIS epitomize that, the fastest growing threat in the west to distinguish largest versus fastest growing. The fastest growing is now, according to our intelligence services, the threat of far-right terrorism.

COOPER: It's interesting, Maajid, though, when you hear some of the claims made in this manifesto that, you know, that Christians, that whites are being attacked or that Muslims are trying to destroy them, that these are invaders, it's the same language in some ways that groups like ISIS uses, that Christians and Jews are invading Muslim lands, that Muslims are victims. Obviously, the ideologies are very different but the sort of -- some of the tropes are the same.

NAWAZ: Absolutely, Anderson. And when you look at the identity politics involved, the victimhood that is involved, each group believes they are the ones being the most oppressed. Their identity is being erased. Their lands are being invaded. All of the same tropes exist on not just two sides or radicalization, it's not just the far-right and the jihadist, but also the far-left as we recently in media have been waking up to, rising anti-Semitism among the left wing as well.

Radicalization is occurring because our societies are becoming polarized and more and more divided. This, I believe, is the lowest point for Muslims in the west since the genocide in Bosnia. It's something which we're living here in Europe.

I mean, Anderson, the last time I was on your show, this scar was not on my forehead. Last month I was attacked, I was racially assaulted in London by a racist. He racially abused me. All of us are living this and we're feeling it around us. And it's really important that instead of responding to these sorts of incidents with more hate and more anger, that all of us make every effort to hold our societies together and challenge extremism from any direction that we see it.

COOPER: So, I mean, the fact that you bear a scar as a result of this kind of hate, when you hear President Trump question the idea that white nationalism is a rising threat around the world, that he says he frankly doesn't believe that, it's just a small number of people, what do you make of that?

NAWAZ: Before President Trump was elected, I was on your very show and I warned of how he would radicalize his supporters and followers because he would be unable to deliver on the promises he's made them. A Muslim ban was not deliverable. It's not something you can achieve in the west because we're born and raised in the west.

And so as a result of those promises he made during his election campaign, the rhetoric was ratcheted up. And I said that he would radicalize people to turn into far-right terrorists. And it's very sad for me to return here today to say that I bear one of the examples of a scar to demonstrate that that's actually happening around us. It's a terrible thing. President Trump needs to be very careful with his language.

I don't think we should silence our political opponents. I think conversations around immigration and even critiquing Islam are legitimate, but how we have them is very important. All of us, just as we challenge the language of jihadists and Islamist and just as President Trump himself used to say that we were unable to name that ideology, well he's fallen prey to the same problem when it comes to far-right extremism. And his language and the language of his supporters should also be scrutinized just as the Islamist language was scrutinized too.

COOPER: Is there a way to turn this around?

NAWAZ: I think it's sad for me to say this, I think it's going to get worse before it gets better. The populist far-right parties are winning electorally across Europe. The violence is increasing. People couldn't believe that in the middle of -- in the heart of London in Soho, for example, this attack would happen on me. It's something which is going to get worse because of the conditions that are causing it.

Brexit in the U.K. is dividing our party. People are -- the division is palpable. And it's not because of Brexit, it's because of the way in which the conversation is happening. And unfortunately, I think there's a lot more of this to come. Copycat killers.

This man himself in New Zealand, by the way, was inspired by Darren Osborne, the Finsbury Park mosque attacker here in London and, of course, Anders Breivik, which you've just mentioned on your show. I think other unfortunately will look to what he's done and copy him.

[20:45:12] And then, of course, jihadists will try and respond with their false claim that they're defending Muslims in doing so. And it's just -- I think, unfortunately, people need to see how bad it can get before they realize the importance of holding our societies together.

COOPER: Yes. The response is critical. Maajid, thanks so much, I appreciate it.

We have more just ahead on one of the most chilling aspects of the day. The attacks were live streamed and instantly available on social media. We're obviously not going to show you the live stream. We don't want to give this person -- we're not saying his name, we're not showing any pictures of him even. The question we'll tackle is why did it take so long to pull those videos down?


COOPER: As we've mentioned, the attacks in Christchurch were live streamed on social media sites around the world. We're not showing those images. The shooter had a video camera as the assaults took place, as the murders took place. And as we spent the hour talking about how to combat the rise in extremism, the question of how social media plays a part is becoming more important. Today is a perfect example because the images of the shooting stayed online for far too long.

CNN's Cristina Alesci joins me now. How were social media companies made aware of the postings on their site?

CRISTINA ALESCI, CNN BUSINESS AND POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, in this case, it was the police, which is shocking.

COOPER: That's weird.

ALESCI: It kind of exposes the problem with these platforms. You know, shortly after the shooting, Facebook puts out a statement saying, "New Zealand police alerted us to a video on Facebook shortly after the live stream commenced and we removed both the shooter's Facebook account and the video. We're also -- for the crime -- as soon as we're aware." Look, Facebook monitors its platform in two ways, through artificial intelligence, which is machines, and through human monitors.

[20:50:04] On the A.I. front, Facebook executives have been bragging about how good their A.I. is. Just recently they said that it could distinguish between broccoli and marijuana. They were using it as a test case from traffic and drugs over the internet. So why can't their A.I. pick up --

COOPER: Right.

ALESCI: -- gunshots? That's a great question. Turns out, A.I. may not be that advanced and it may not have enough people on this problem which is why critics are saying that this is still not a priority --

COOPER: Right.

ALESCI: -- for Facebook. Look, at the root of the problem we can talk about tech all day long but at the root of the problem, Facebook's DNA is to make content shareable.

COOPER: Right.

ALESCI: So if it puts any restraint on that, it's fighting with its own --

COOPER: And that's the argument, you know, a lot of -- have been making -- I mean -- time but there used to be an argument they made about jihadist videos and then finally there is enough pressure and they, you know, make an effort to take those down.

ALESCI: Right. And this video, so it wasn't just the inability to flag it from the beginning because remember, allegedly the shooter was streaming live for 17 minutes before it was addressed. It was the fact that it kept getting shared.

COOPER: Right.

ALESCI: So Facebook puts out another statement this afternoon saying that it was essentially putting all the copies in a database so that it could automatically flag and eliminate the content. Now experts say that's the right way to do it. It's more simple technology and it's more reliable than A.I. So again --

COOPER: Interesting.

ALESCI: -- the criticism is, why isn't Facebook doing more?

COOPER: Right. Cristina Alesci, I appreciate it. Thanks so much.

Let's check in with Chris and see what he's working on for "Cuomo Prime Time." Chris?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: You know, we've seen so many of these situations -- that something is made of the opportunity. This is not a secret. This is not the first. This is the worst that New Zealand has seen obviously in modern history and the irony that it happened in a place called Christchurch is lost on nobody but the good and evil of the situation is obvious. What are we going to do about it?

Where is the leadership going to come from? How do the rest of us respond to come together and get past us versus them and move toward we. Yes, the President has a role. Yes, he has responsibility. We'll be making the case tonight.

COOPER: All right. Chris, we'll look forward to that. Thanks very much. About seven minutes from now.

Coming up next, the chief rabbi of the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, the target of another hate-filled massacre last fall. He joins me to talk about New Zealand.


[20:55:47] COOPER: A lot of pictures at Christchurch, New Zealand where memorial is growing, as I've said, by the hour as more people come to express their outrage, their sadness of the mourning and grief and the shock of what's happened. Sad and striking aspects of the killings in New Zealand it's not how rare they were but how common such acts have become elsewhere. Hate has gone global, yet as we've seen again and again, the impact from each terrible and so intensely local, it tears communities apart. That is the horror.

The blessing is how it can also bring neighbors together. We saw it far too recently. The Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Squirrel Hill neighborhood, Rabbi Jeffrey Myers congregation.

Rabbi Myers, it was only a few months ago when you and I spoke outside the Tree of Life synagogue as you were trying to deal with the unimaginable tragedy there. When you see yet another attack at a place of worship, an attack on faith, just what goes through your mind and your heart?

RABBI JEFFREY MYERS, TREE OF LIFE CONGREGATION: Well, this morning, you brought me back to October 27th all over again. Complete repetition. I think it was George Carlin who called it (INAUDIBLE), repeating an event that you don't want to have to repeat. And it was like it just played the entire day straight through all over again.

COOPER: You taught me when we spoke I remember in the hours after the attack that it wasn't the time to be angry, that it was the time to focus on the victims. I'm wondering how important is that now and how do you not be angry at something like this?

MYERS: I agree. I think that's a natural reaction to want to be angry. But the question is what do you do with that anger? Is there a productive way to channel it? If you just channel the anger towards destructive actions then there's nothing productive about anger. I would think it to be a natural response but in the end, it doesn't lead to something productive usually. We have to find good things to do with the anger to find positive works to do so that the lives of, in this case, 49 beautiful souls lost are not in vain. COOPER: As someone who has lived through pain like this, which is -- I mean, you know, everybody's tragedy is different and the way everybody experiences grief and pain is different but the pain of -- I've talked to, you know, parents who have lost children in mass shootings and they talk about the pain of the kind of grief after a mass shooting is different perhaps than the grief of losing a loved one to a disease or even some other kind of crime. What is your message to the members of these congregations who are reeling tonight and to their friends and their families and Muslims around the world?

MYERS: I wish I had words to take away their pain. I don't. Just as there really weren't words to take away the pain of October 27th, but I can tell you that the love and uplift of an entire world, I have no doubt will pour into Christchurch to let all of who suffer there know that they are not alone. There was an entire world holding you up, giving you tight hugs, letting you know that we care and that the actions of one or more individuals does not reflect the type of world that we live in.

I don't know what degree that gives comfort but I find that daily, ever since October 27th there are regular daily reminders from strangers far and wide who express this love, who express this comfort to us to let us know this is on their mind. And we have to do the same thing. I posted that on my blog today. We need to reach out to not just the Muslim community and Christchurch but our Muslim neighbors throughout the United States to say to them we understand your pain. We are here for you, we want to make sure that you feel safe and that you can worship in your holy spaces and feel safe.

COOPER: Rabbi Myers, I appreciate your time. Thank you.

MYERS: Thank you, Anderson.

COOPER: Well, we'll obviously continue to follow this in the coming days. Right now I want to hand it over to Chris for "Cuomo Prime Time". Chris?

CUOMO: Very heavy, very important. Anderson, thank you for your guidance through the last hour. I am Chris Cuomo, welcome to Prime Time.