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Alarm Over Counter-Terrorism Hui

“We are disappointed by the agenda of the National Counter-Terrorism Hui and the selection of some speakers on Tuesday in Christchurch. The hui is not focused on the lessons from the March 15th white supremacist terrorist attack. It doesn't even mention the word Islamophobia in the programme,” said Azad Khan from the Foundation Against Islamophobia and Racism (FAIR).

“We must put Islamophobia and the specific events of 15 March 2019 front and centre of this discussion if we are going to learn anything. There needs to be a robust discussion about the context of that terror attack, not a generalised conference about countering terrorism.”

“The Muslim community is once again being marginalised and ignored by a government that professed to put them at the centre of their response. The community has been waiting for an opportunity to be involved in, and consulted on, how to bring about change since the attacks. This counter-terrorism hui could have been that opportunity.”

“Instead the very agencies that failed to stop this attack are leading the conversation. These agencies - in particular the SIS - have been targeting NZ Muslims since 9/11, yet there is little evidence of any institutional soul-searching about their own role in creating the circumstances that led to the Mosque massacres in the first place.”

“These agencies are conducting this conference as if they have nothing to learn from those who have been most affected by terrorism. It feels like a tick box exercise. This is especially alarming given that the government has indicated it will set up yet another security agency tasked just with ‘counter-terrorism’.”

“Similarly, one speaker who was supposed to discuss community responses to countering terrorism instead implied New Zealand Muslims support terrorism. This was deeply hurtful, harmful and frankly disgusting considering some Muslim members of the audience are victims of the Christchurch attack. We walked out of the hui during this presentation to demonstrate our outrage.”

“The Christchurch victims still have not been understood or heard. Muslims in Aotearoa still live in an environment of fear and entrenched racism. Against this backdrop, the failure of the government to meaningfully centre those most affected in this first ever National Counter-Terrorism Hui should be cause for real reflection, and radical change.”

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