Australia Blamed For Christchurch Massacre
Saudi Arabia has shot back at Australia's criticism of its human rights record and blamed the Morrison government for the Christchurch massacre.
The Saudi government has accused the Australian government of being racist and supporting anti-Islamic terrorism.
The scathing criticism comes after Australia led the call of condemnation of Saudi Arabia over its human rights record - including the disappearance and murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Australia’s Ambassador to the United Nations Sally Mansfield delivered a statement criticising the Saudis on behalf of 24 counties before the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
"We are concerned at reports of torture, arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances, unfair trials, and harassment of individuals engaged in promoting and defending human rights, their families and colleagues,” she said.
It prompted the Saudi ambassador Abdulaziz Alwasil to fire back in defence of the Kingdom by suggesting the Australian government was encouraging xenophobia and racism against Muslims.
“We see in some countries radicalism against Muslims, we see xenophobia, racism. And some governments sympathise with them, like Australia,” he told the council.
He pointed to the Australian ethnicity of the accused Christchurch shooter who has been charged over terror attacks on two New Zealand mosques.
"Here we refer to the massacre perpetrated by Brenton Tarrant – an Australian – which was based on hate speech," the ambassador said.
Tarrant, the main suspect in the March attacks has pleaded not guilty to all charges against him including the murder of 51 people and 40 counts of attempted murder.
Tarrant is originally from Grafton, NSW. He is being held in an Auckland maximum security prison ahead of his trial next year.
Saudi media Arab News also rejected the international condemnation of its human rights record. Its coverage of the story was headlined 'Saudi Arabia Rejects Interference In Its Internal Policies'.
Meanwhile, the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has admitted responsibility for Jamal Khashoggi's murder by Saudi operatives in 2018 because "it happened under my watch".
The Crown Prince's comments were recorded for a PBS documentary to be aired next week.