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Race Comm'er condemns attacks on Islamic Centres

Human Rights Commission

Media Release

11 July 2005

Race Commissioner condemns attacks on New Zealand Islamic centres

Attacks on New Zealand Islamic centres over the weekend were a misdirected way of expressing anger at the London bombings, says Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres.

“Leaders of the Muslim community in New Zealand have utterly condemned the London bombings and made it clear that such actions cannot be justified in terms of their religion. Despite this, New Zealand Muslims have now themselves become innocent victims.”

Mr de Bres said that a response was required at two levels. “First, this needs to be dealt with as a criminal act and community security issue by the Police, and I welcome the Police’s strong public commitment to that effect. Second, we need to renew our efforts to foster understanding and to create a climate of tolerance and support.”

The forthcoming Islam Awareness Week (August 8-15) on the theme of “Getting to Know Each Other” offers New Zealanders an opportunity to increase their understanding of Islam. Members of the public can also send messages of support to the Muslim community (see email address below).

In response to the desecration of Jewish cemeteries in Wellington last year a community leaders’ forum was held at Parliament and the New Zealand Diversity Action Programme adopted. A follow up forum will be held at Te Papa on 23 August, and will include a focus on religious tolerance and interfaith dialogue, at which both anti-Semitism and Islamophobia will be discussed.

ENDS

Messages of support can be sent to the Federation of Islamic Associations at: fianz@xtra.co.nz

For more information on the Federation of Islamic Associations:
www.fianz.co.nz

For further information on Islam Awareness Week 8-15 August:
http://www.hrc.co.nz/home/ hrc/introduction/newzealanddiversityactionprogramme/ projects/islamawarenessweekfianz.php

For further information on the NZ Diversity Action Programme:
www.hrc.co.nz/diversity

For further information on the New Zealand Diversity Forum on 23 August:
http://www.hrc.co.nz/home/hrc/introduction/ newzealanddiversityactionprogramme/news.php

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