NEW Zealand might be on the other side of the world, but its connections to Scotland are as close as can be. Settled by tens of thousands of Scots, including four who would go on to become Prime Minister of New Zealand, its towns and cities are named after the old country from Dunedin, to Invercargill, Oban, Hamilton, Huntly and Napier. In addition to their older Maori names, much of the physical geography also connects New Zealand to Scotland, from the Lammermoor and Grampian Hills to the Water of Leith. Just like Scotland most people in New Zealand thought their country was as far away from terrorism as could be imagined.

Who could have imagined the indiscriminate murder of scores of men, women and children in the beautiful and peaceful city of Christchurch? Who would have thought it possible for worshippers to be the target of terrorist guns and bombs at two mosques in the South Island city?

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Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said it was “one of New Zealand’s darkest days”, adding that: “Many directly affected by this shooting may be migrants to New Zealand, they may even be refugees here ... They are us. The person who has perpetuated this violence against us is not.”

The person who livestreamed himself conducting the terrorist outrage was a 28-year-old Australian who identified himself online before the attack as Brenton Tarrant.

He explained online that his parents “are of Scottish, Irish and English stock” in a rambling 74-page racist rant about his motivations, which were to “create an atmosphere of fear” and to “incite violence” against Muslims.

He cited attacks by other right-wing terrorists such as the Finsbury Park mosque attacker Darren Osborne and Norwegian mass-murderer Anders Behring Breivik. Like Breivik he wrote a manifesto justifying his horrific acts as punishment of Muslims and immigrants. Citing the 1683 Siege of Vienna by the Ottoman Turks, he used the language of “invasion” to justify his cowardly indiscriminate attack.

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His methods and his extremist ideology are the same as the Quebec mosque attacker Alexandre Bissonnette who murdered six worshippers in 2017. Bissonnette was a white racist who hated immigrants and Muslims. His methods and extremist ideology are the same as the terrorist who last year attacked the Pittsburgh synagogue killing 11 worshippers.

These white supremacists all believe in “replacement” of whites by immigrants, by Muslims, by Jews, by blacks and by other minorities. It is what could be heard being chanted by the extremists marching in Charlottesville in 2017. It is the same ideology as that of the Scots-born murderer of Labour MP Jo Cox.

In recent years, concerns about the dangers of Islamism and the Islamist radicalisation have been well placed. In case we didn’t realise the risks from right-wing white extremists we should now. The ideology and threat of right-wing terrorism is real across the world, from New Zealand to North America and in Scotland too.

Modern technology has opened up access for extremists to propagate their views. As with Islamism the dangers of online radicalisation and the risks of copycat violence have grown. That is why in the UK the security service, MI5, has now taken the lead in combatting right-wing terrorism. Since 2017 four right-wing alleged plots have been thwarted, and it is publicly reported that there are currently around 100 investigations into the extreme right.

READ MORE: Why we should respond to the Christchurch attack with compassion

It is a sad reality that the populist right and the self-styled alt-right are on the march around the world. In the US, President Donald Trump’s first reaction to the New Zealand shootings was to share a link to Breitbart, the alt-right “news site”. In the UK anti-Semitism has reared its ugly head again, Islamophobia continues and anti-immigrant sentiment is stoked by elements of the mainstream media.

This is a huge challenge to inclusive societies and mainstream politics the world over. It cannot be right for the murderous video from Christchurch to be available on YouTube and Facebook for hours after the attack. It cannot be right for the pedlars of hate, extremism and violence to be able to use mainstream social media platforms to share their poisonous messages.

We all have a responsibility to send our message of respect, tolerance, peace and diversity to all fellow citizens regardless of race, religion, gender or sexual orientation. We also need to act against the extremists. The risk from the extreme right is stronger now than at any point since the defeat of Nazism.

We cannot imagine that this is just a problem elsewhere. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon sent a strong signal yesterday by visiting Glasgow Mosque and meeting with police and Scottish faith group leaders. Let us resolve to defeat this scourge at home and abroad.