Green Square Campaign Launched
“The one year anniversary since the Christchurch terror attack where 51 people were murdered is rapidly approaching. We are inviting people across Aotearoa New Zealand to be part of the first ever Green Square Campaign to acknowledge this horrific event,” said Azad Khan, spokesperson for Foundation Against Islamophobia & Racism (FAIR).
“The Green Square Campaign originated in Quebec after the 2017 Mosque attack in which six people were murdered and a further 19 injured when a man opened fire just before 8:00 pm, shortly after the end of evening prayers. The green symbolises both the carpet of the Mosque as well as being a colour often associated with Islam more generally,” said Azad Khan.
“The Green Square Campaign is a Muslim community-based campaign to build understanding and religious tolerance. The idea is simple: we are encouraging people to wear the sticker in the days leading up to March 15th, much in the same way as people wear a pink ribbon for breast cancer awareness. We also encourage people to take a photo wearing the sticker and share with our social media using the hashtags #StandAgainstIslamophobia #GreenSquareCampaign.”
Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon says, “Immediately after the attacks, we were all heartened by the outpouring of love, empathy and support shown throughout New Zealand. Although we grieve together, we must also act together to reject hatred and division. Symbols can be powerful tools of remembrance and honour. The green square campaign is a good way to show our respect for the 51 Muslim people whose lives were senselessly taken. Long term, I am asking New Zealanders to give no tolerance to Islamophobic, xenophobic and racist behaviours – from jokes and slurs through to acts of verbal and physical violence.”
Green Squares have been provided to Members of Parliament for them and their staff. They have been sent to libraries and community centres around the country. They will also be available at commemorative events in Auckland and Christchurch.
The New Zealand campaign is being led by the Foundation Against Islamophobia & Racism (FAIR), a Muslim-led human rights organisation that hosts an online register where people can report racial attacks (https://report.islamophobia.co.nz).
“If people are unable to get a sticker, we would encourage people to wear a piece of green fabric to show their solidarity with New Zealand Muslims.”