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Foundation Against Islamophobia & Racism (FAIR): Royal Commission Report

“The highly anticipated Royal Commission Report has failed to answer the questions that the Muslim community has been searching for since March 15th, 2019,", said FAIR spokesperson Azad Khan.

“The report doesn't go far enough to hold people and agencies accountable who blatantly ignored white supremacist violence time and time again. Adding insult to injury is the fact that information that could have provided answers has been suppressed for 30 years.”

“To absolve the government agencies of any real blame and to say that nothing could have been done to prevent the terrorist attack is ludicrous.”

“Just eight months before the terrorist attack, we petitioned against the granting of a visa to Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneaux, two fascists agitators. Southern was one of the major voices promoting the ideas that motivated the Christchurch terrorist. We did not want her to spread the vile Islamophobic, xenophobic and homophobic views and empower right-wing extremists. Once again our pleas for protection fell on deaf ears, and we were ignored.”

“In our submission to the Royal Commission last year, we said that the Inquiry had got it fundamentally wrong in describing the problem. The question that needed to be answered was not ‘did the intelligence agencies fail and/or did they have their priorities wrong?’ but ‘how have these agencies contributed to, reinforced and promoted the view that Muslims are a major threat to national security.’ Answering this question would have forced the intelligence agencies and government to examine the institutional white supremacy at the heart of the New Zealand project.

"We do not think that there has been any failure by the Intelligence community. Instead, the Intelligence Community is doing and has done exactly what it was established to do: monitor threats to the existing arrangements of power in New Zealand - to “protect national security” - that is to protect the security of a white supremacist colonial state to stay in power. White supremacists and fascists do not represent a threat to that power, and as a result, they have not been of interest to the Intelligence Community. New Zealand’s Muslim Communities have neither institutional nor political power; as a result, the intelligence agencies are not interested in protecting them. Indeed, time and time again they ignored the demands of Muslim communities for help. Instead, the Intelligence Community has viewed and continues to view Muslims as a threat to the existing political, economic and social systems of New Zealand."

The Terms of Reference for the inquiry were narrowly defined to investigate operational failures without any consultation from the Muslim community. This narrow focus is particularly problematic when considered alongside the nature of Islamophobia. The State’s role in promoting and institutionalising Islamophobia arises not simply from the policies, processes and priorities it follows, but from the organisational culture and context of State agencies and their interrelationships with wider New Zealand society. As it stands, it seems possible that the Royal Commission has answered the operational questions without ever really examining or understanding fully what responsibility the State bears for the massacre of 15 March 2019.

We welcome the apology from the Rt Hon Prime Minister and her commitment to implement recommendations that were put forward by the Royal Commission. These are positive recommendations and some which we had been advocating for. It is great to see that Hon Andrew Little has been appointed as the Minister responsible for coordinating the implementation of Royal Commission recommendations. However, of great concern is the recommendation to set up another intelligence agency. We have no confidence that such an agency won’t do what these agencies have always done: targeted the “other” - Muslims, Māori, minority communities, and activists who are struggling for systemic change.

  1. Report Hate Crimes and Islamophobic incidents at our new website - www.fairnz.org
  2. Copy of our submission to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the terrorist attacks on Christchurch Mosques is HERE.

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