The leafy New Zealand city where a self-proclaimed racist fatally shot 50 people at mosques during Friday prayers is known for its picturesque meandering river and English heritage. For decades, Christchurch has also been the center of the country’s small but persistent white supremacist movement.

An expert on such fringe groups says it’s probably more than coincidence that the accused mosque shooter, 28-year-old Australian Brenton Tarrant, settled in the region, known for a whiter demographic than the country’s north, after frequently traveling abroad in 2016-2018 in what appears to have been an extreme-right pilgrimage.

He went mostly to areas of Europe with a long history of sectarian dispute, including clashes between Renaissance Europe and the Ottoman Empire and the breakup of Yugoslavia following its ethnic and religious conflicts.

Read more: AP