Shinzo Abe’s assassination – Former Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was murdered because he had links with the Unification Church. The killer cited this as a motive for his fatal shooting. Yamagami, 41, has told investigators that he killed Abe because the latter was promoting the religious movement. Yamagami’s mother was a member of the Unification Church, and the killer was blaming the movement for a “huge donation” she made to the church more than 20 years ago that had crippled the family’s finances, per his statement.
When a radicalized Muslim kills a Christian for being a Christian, we are prompt to call it a terrorist attack. What’s different here? A radicalized “anti-cult” killed a person for his links to the Church of Unification. What’s similar? A radicalized person killed another for his religious affiliation. In fact, Abe was not at all a member of the Church of Unification. But he had participated to some of their events and praised their work for world peace. His killing sends a terror message: don’t acquaint with the Moonies (the Church of Unification has been founded by the Korean Reverend Sun Yung Moon, and its followers are derogatorily called “Moonies” by its opponents), or you’ll be killed. That’s terrorism.
In Japan, a lawyer’s consortium has been created years ago to fight against the Church of Unification in the country. They have been described by the Magazine Bitter Winter as “greedy lawyers who tried to persuade relatives of those who had donated to the Unification Church to sue asking to recover the money”. One of these Japanese attorneys, Yasuo Kawai, declared after the murder occurred: “I obviously don’t approve of the killer’s gesture, but I can understand his resentment”. It could be said that such a justification of the murder borders on the apology of violence. It’s condoning terrorism.
Exactly as unstable minds can be influenced by hate-speech by Muslim extremists against other denominations (or even other Muslims), anti-cult propaganda as it exists in Japan, but also in Europe (see here about the influence of the FECRIS, an “anti-cult” umbrella organization from Europe, on the war in Ukraine), can influence unsound mind as the one of Yamagami Tetsuya, Abe’s killer.
We should never minimize the influence of hate speech on people. And definitely, we should not apply double standard based on which religious affiliation are the killer and the victim. Terrorism is terrorism. Abe’s murder has a terrorist component and the hate speech directed for years at the Unification Church by some anti-cult groups may certainly be somewhat responsible for what happened, whatever personal grievance the killer would have had.