Terrorists love to exploit the deaths of children at the hands of the people they declare enemies. The propaganda of al-Qaeda and the so-called Islamic State is filled with images of mutilated toddlers that give the jihadis, they claim, license to take revenge and commit mass murder.
So, too, with white supremacists—including the alleged murderer of 49 people at mosques in New Zealand on Friday. They have seized on the image of 11-year-old Ebba Åkerlund, killed in a 2017 terror attack in Sweden and often made into memes, to feed their hatred. Her name was scrawled on to the butt of the New Zealand shooter's assault rifle along with other pretexts for his “revenge.”
Her father, Stefan Åkerlund, told the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet that he was mortified when he saw how the latest terrorist had used his daughter's name.
“I could not even imagine the idea that someone would write my daughter's name on a rifle,” he said on Facebook. He goes on to condemn the attacks in New Zealand. “How sick it is.”
Ebba's mother, Jeanette Åkerlund, also spoke out. “It gives you chills,” she told Aftonbladet. “It is deeply tragic that Ebba's name is abused in political propaganda.”
Friday's attack in Christchurch, thought to be the deadliest against Muslims in the West in modern times, "goes against everything Ebba stood for", Akerlund told Swedish public television SVT.