Harassment of Muslims continues

While there has been a huge amount of sympathy and support shown for the Muslim community in New Zealand, there are claims of continued harassment of Muslims, especially Muslim women. And attacks on Muslims continue online.

Newshub:  Jacinda Ardern ‘devastated’ as anti-Muslim attacks continue after Christchurch shooting

Most of what we’ve seen so far from the public toward the Muslim community has been love. But Anjum Rahman from the Islamic Council of Women told Newshub hatred is around as Muslims are reporting being threatened even since the terror attack.

“People are having people pretend to shoot them – ripping hijab off women,” Manning said.

When confronted with this on Monday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said: “I think it’s devastating to know that when a community has been the subject of a direct attack like this that they would then be subject to threats.”

The Guardian has reported a 593 percent increase in anti-Muslim hate crimes in the UK in the aftermath of the Christchurch shooting.

That’s an alarming reaction to the Christchurch attacks in the UK, I think it’s reasonable to assume that that is in part fed by online abuse.

Police couldn’t give Newshub data on any potential increase in New Zealand, but the Prime Minister is urging anyone who has experienced attacks or threats to report them.

“Please report it – they are taking them seriously, they are following them up,” she said.

It seems every single threat is now being treated that much more seriously.

As they should be.

There have been positive changes. NZ Herald:  A changed world after Christchurch mosque attacks

An Auckland Muslim woman has described how her world has changed since the Christchurch terror attacks, which have helped unite the country and counter racial hatred.

Fijian-born mother-of-three Neelufah Hannif was once called a “curry muncher” and for years felt too uncomfortable to wear her hijab to work.

But the 40-year-old public servant has sensed a shift in attitudes towards inclusiveness and racial harmony since an extremist gunman killed 50 Muslim worshippers in two mosque attacks on March 15.

“I think the last few days have shown that people are compassionate, they’ve shown empathy and they have grieved with the Muslim community. I think this is who we are, this is who we have always been and I hope this will continue.”

“New Zealanders have shown solidarity and it’s comforting to know we are ‘one’ and people are there for us,” she said.

But also from NZH – Trevor Richards: NZ in denial about its anti-Muslim racism

In France following the January 2015 attack, the catchphrase heard and seen everywhere in Paris had been “Je suis Charlie (I am Charlie)”.

Here, it was not an Islamic terrorist attack against citizens of a Western country, but an attack by a white nationalist extremist against Muslims at prayer. This difference is important in determining the responses of the two countries.

France’s response to both attacks contained an ugly underbelly. Islamic terrorists had been the attackers. In the week following the Charlie Hebdo attack, a total of 60 anti-Muslim incidents were reported.

In New Zealand, Muslims had been the victims. The immediate nationwide response was to support and embrace Muslim communities.

On the Sunday following the attack, two young Muslim women at an Auckland railway station were told to “go back to your f****** country”. For some in this country, they are not us.

Unlike France, such horrific events are new to us. It has been widely claimed that New Zealand will never be the same again. The good news is that life will “get back to normal”, as Norway seems to have after Breivik. But our image of ourselves as a small country at the bottom of the world, happily immune from extremist right-wing political psychopaths and the more vicious edges of world politics, has gone. That will inevitably change us in ways yet to be realised.

Like everywhere in the world New Zealand will never be free of racism, of religious animosity, of prejudice and of fear.

But we can all play a part making things better than they were before the attacks in Christchurch.

 

 

 

Should controversial Muslims be able to speak at an Auckland venue?

Should two international Muslim speakers be allowed to speak at Auckland city venue the Bruce Mason Centre?

If, instead of controversial Canadians Lauren Southern and Stefan Molynuex, a couple of controversial Muslims wanted to come to New Zealand to speak, would the reactions and the arguments be the same?

What if Donald Trump wanted to come and speak in New Zealand – would he get the same promises of demonstrations that are planned for his imminent visit to Britain?

What about two controversial Israelis? If, instead of a speaking event, what if they wanted to play an exhibition game of tennis?

Two Palestinians?

What if two international anti-TPPA speakers wanted to organise a protest in Auckland?

It would be interesting to see how many of the current free speech promoters took a similar stance, and how many of the ‘ban hate speech’ promoters took a similar stance.

 

Christians and Muslims unite over Jerusalem

 

Refugees detained after Trump ‘executive order’

There has been immediate collateral damage after US immigration has acted on an executive order signed by President Trump putting an immediate stop to refugees from seven Muslim countries. Some refugees in transit when the order was signed have been detained at US airports.

And a department of Homeland spokeswoman has advised that the ban on entry also applies to green card holders (legal permanent US residents) trying to enter the US.

BBC: Trump executive order: Refugees detained at US airports

Entry to the US for nationals of seven Muslim-majority countries has been stopped for 90 days by Donald Trump.

The exact implications of his order remain unclear. The US State Department has told the BBC it is working on the immediate implementation of the ban.

People fleeing Syria are banned until further notice.

The other countries affected are Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.

The two Iraqi refugees detained in New York, one of whom had worked as a US Army interpreter, were in transit when the executive order was signed on Friday.

The National Immigration Law Centre (NILC) told the BBC that it was suing President Trump and the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

It described the two Iraqis as “courageous Haneed Khalid Darweesh, who interpreted for US army & Haider Sameer Alshawi also targeted for aiding US military”.

That appears to mean that people with permanent resident status who were out of the country when the order was signed may not be allowed into the US.

The executive order includes the following measures:

  • The suspension of the entire US refugee admissions programme for 120 days
  • A ban on all refugees from Syria until “significant changes” are made
  • A 90-day suspension on anyone arriving from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen, except certain visa categories such as diplomats
  • Priority for future refugee applications from those persecuted for their religion – but only if the person is part of a minority religion in their home country
  • A cap of 50,000 refugees in 2017 – less than half of the upper limit under Barack Obama

Mr Trump signed the order on Friday, which was International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

The president’s statement to mark that occasion, on the 72nd anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, made no mention of Jews or anti-Semitism.

This just popped up on my Twitter feed:

Awful from NZ Muslim leader

Shalom.Kiwi has posted: Shocking and Repeated Anti-Semitism, Misogyny by New Zealand Muslim Leader

A shocking video has surfaced containing excerpts of a number of Auckland sermons and lectures given by Shaykh Dr Mohammad Anwar Sahib between April 2014 and November 2016 in which he repeatedly uses appalling anti-Semitic slanders and libels and denigrates women. In one sermon, he calmly calls Jews “the enemy of Muslims” and claims that:

Jews are using everybody because their protocol is to rule the entire world”Shaykh Dr Mohammad Anwar Sahib

Of more concern is that Dr Sahib is the President of the At Taqwa Mosque in Manukau, Auckland (where the comments were made, and from where they were broadcast on YouTube) and is also (according to FIANZ and his CV) secretary of the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand (FIANZ) Ulama Council and FIANZ Advisory Board. The FIANZ Ulama Council is responsible for religious affairs in the New Zealand Muslim community, including family counselling and dispute resolution. Dr Sahib also claims to be an adviser to the New Zealand government on Halal issues.

And on women:

No woman can dare step out of her house without the permission of her husband” Shaykh Dr Mohammad Anwar Sahib

If that’s some sort of religious directive then it stinks in modern New Zealand.

Shalom.Kiwi has requested comment from FIANZ and the Human Rights Commission. At the time of publication, no comments had been received.

The Human Rights Commissioner responded yesterday:

Intolerant religious speeches are not welcome here – Dame Susan Devoy

The Human Rights Commission says an Auckland man’s speeches condemning Jewish people are appalling and have no place in New Zealand.

“We live in one of the most ethnically diverse nations on earth as well as one of the most peaceful: this is because we are a tolerant nation,” said Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy.

“This kind of intolerance is not welcome here in any form: Prejudice against Jewish people has no place in New Zealand.” Videos of speeches delivered by Shaykh Dr Mohammad Anwar Sahib at the Manukau mosque have been widely viewed online.

“We urge Kiwis to recognise that these are the views of a single person and are not held by every single Muslim New Zealander, however questions need to be answered,” said Dame Susan.

“We’ve been in touch with the leaders of the NZ Jewish Council as well as the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand (FIANZ), both of whom are deeply concerned about the speeches. We have asked for an urgent response from FIANZ.”

This puts the FIANZ in a difficult position, and also puts ordinary New Zealand Muslims art risk of a backlash.

An appropriate response from FIANZ is crucial.

It needs to be made clear that what Shaykh Dr Mohammad Anwar Sahib has been saying is inappropriate in New Zealand and is potentially very damaging.

It must be made clear that tolerance of people associated with religions – including Jews and Muslims – is an essential quality of New Zealand society.

UPDATE: The Islamic Women’s Council  of New Zealand has responded:

<blockquote>The Administration Council of the Islamic Women’s Council would like to respond to the video containing clips of speeches posted online by Dr Mohammad Anwar Sahib.

Firstly, regarding the comments directed towards Jewish people, these are totally inappropriate and we unequivocally condemn any divisive comments of a similar nature. While we may disagree with aspects of Jewish theology, and may have political disagreements, we see the Jewish people as closely connected to us through the Abrahamic tradition. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) had good relationships with his Jewish neighbours & encouraged Muslims to do the same. We are permitted to eat their kosher food, and we offer them our respect. We regularly extend our hand in friendship to the Jewish community in New Zealand, and will continue to do so.

IWCNZ is particularly sensitive to the views represented by the comments towards women. The approach shown is a religious misinterpretation, in our opinion, and we are disappointed that certain religious leaders may encourage this damaging rhetoric. We would like to note that Muslim women are and have always been active inside and outside their households, contributing socially and financially to the community. IWCNZ takes pride in being an example of this and of offering a platform for the independent voice of Muslim Women in New Zealand.</blockquote>

Majority support Muslim & asylum seeker immigration

An interesting Australian immigration poll of  by Roy Morgan.

“Over the last year (2015) about 180,000 immigrants came to Australia. Do you think the number of people coming here to live permanently should be increased, or reduced, or remain about the same?”

  • Remain about the same 40%
  • Increased 21%
  • Reduced 34%
  • Can’t say 5%

“Judging by what you see and hear, do you think immigrants are changing Australia’s culture and way of life – or having little effect.”

Respondents who responded that immigrants are changing us were then asked: “Do you think immigrants are changing Australia’s culture and way of life for better or for worse?”

  • Better 32%
  • Worse 32%
  • Can’t say (better or worse) 10%
  • Having little effect 19%
  • Can’t say (changing us) 3%

This is a similar result for ‘better’ to a poll in 2010 but a slight reduction from a poll last year.

“Australia’s population has increased by 6 million from 18 million to just over 24 million over the last 20 years. What population do you think we should aim to have in Australia in 30 years – that is, by 2046?”

  • Under 30 million 34%
  • 30-under 35 million 24%
  • 35 million or more 24%
  • Can’t say 18%

That’s a fairly even spread, but a big reduction since 2010 in the preference for under 30 million.

“Please say whether you support or oppose (Muslim / Asylum seeker/ Skilled migrant/ Family reunion) immigration?”

  • Support 58% (54% 2010, 65% 2015)
  • Oppose 33% (35% 2010, 28% 2015)
  • Can’t say 9%

http://www.roymorgan.com/findings/7017-australian-views-on-immigration-population-october-2016-201610241910

Bomb plot accusation in Kansas

Three men have been arrested in Kansas. They have been charged with plotting to bomb an apartment building and mosque, targeting Muslims.

RNZ: Three US men accused of plot to bomb Somalis

Three men have been charged with plotting to bomb Somali immigrants at an apartment building and mosque in the US state of Kansas.

They allegedly planned to strike on 9 November, a day after the US elections.

The suspects had prepared a manifesto and conspired to detonate a bomb at apartments where Somalis were among some 120 residents, said prosecutors.

They allegedly discussed parking four explosives-packed vehicles at the corners of the complex to create a large blast in the meatpacking town.

Acting US Attorney Tom Beall said the eight-month investigation had taken FBI agents “deep into a hidden culture of hatred and violence”.

Mr Beall said they ultimately decided to attack the building because of the number of Somalis who lived there.

Targeting groups of people and talking up hate may encourage nutters to consider doing this sort of thing. An escalation of violence is not good for anyone.

GUEST POST: Muslim Immigration

Events since 911, and more recently the Brexit decision, and now the Chilcott report, have prompted me to think more deeply about an issue that has become of concern in many parts of the world—Muslim immigration.

There are obviously many reasons why people voted for Britain to either stay with or leave the EU. Personally I would have voted to leave, because I’m a proud citizen of what I think is one of the best little countries in the world to live in. I love this place. It’s got its faults. It’s got some big issues it ought to deal with & people don’t always find it easy to listen to each other talk honestly about them. But I’m a New Zealander. I’m proud to be. And, accepting that its current society & culture (whatever that is) have been predominantly forged by two major flows of immigrants—the first from Polynesia, and the second from Britain and other English-speaking countries, I kinda like it the way it is.

In Britain, people who expressed concern about Muslim immigration seemed to just be racists, judging by how mainstream & social media dealt with their views. I bet, seeing many people were making their obvious dislike, even hatred, of anyone with a different skin colour, foreign accent, or way of dressing or living, well-known. Politicians capitalised on it. As some do.

In my opinion, it is too simplistic to just dismiss British people’s concerns about Muslim immigration as ‘racist’. Muslims, truly believe that the Angel Gabriel spoke to Muhammad over a number of years and gave him ongoing instructions, from Allah, about pretty well everything, including the moral superiority of their religion over all others, including Christianity and Judasim, which are to be tolerated where Muslims become dominant so long as they accept domination and do not cause trouble for those Muslims who want to live according to Sharia Law.

Sectarianism is rife within Islam (the main divide of Sunni and Shia is 80 to 20% respectively) and has seen them kill each other in large numbers over the centuries. Yes, Christians did that too. They were even doing it in Northern Ireland until relatively recently, and there have of late been one or two nasty incidents of the same thing, showing that it hasn’t gone away. As is often the case, it’s difficult to separate the religion aspect from the political. Catholics have been Irish, Protestants have been British. What they are both now remains to be seen.

But Christianity has undergone The Reformation, and educational reform which has included scientific and social awareness, as well as the growth of secular law around matters such as Human Rights. ‘Christendom’ on the whole has become more tolerant and true to the behaviours exhibited by Jesus Christ, and more secular. In some Muslim countries there is no tolerance for gays, ‘loose women’, atheists, agnostics, other sects of Islam, other religions. A few deranged or Muslim extremists have been abusing and even killing people because of who they are, what they believe, or for saying what they don’t believe.

Personally, I suspect few non-Muslim people who describe Islam as a peaceful religion have actually read the Quran, or any of the Hadith, or Figh (Islamic jurisprudence), or the various versions of Sharia Law, all of which to some degree or other determine what Muslims believe. The extremists are reading the same book as peaceful Muslims. The supposed ‘perfect book’ is repetitively turgid, filled with endless praises of the wonderfulness of Allah, and its verses can be interpreted differently to mean whatever is preached by those who use it to support their particular view of how the world should be run and what other people should believe.

The world is full of peaceful Muslims. I know that. They may have all, or some may have not, read the whole Quran. Certainly many extremists, including children, have been required to learn it by rote. And this book—or if they can’t read or are uneducated, their religious scholar or leader—in some cases seem to tell them that killing infidels & apostates (anybody who doesn’t accept their interpretation of the Quran) is not only right, it is meritorious, and that committing suicide to kill as many apostates & infidels as possible in the cause of spreading the faith of Allah the Merciful, the Beneficent, is especially praiseworthy and guarantees an immediate place in Paradise.

Peaceful Muslims are peaceful because they are peaceful people, not because the Quran is peaceful. But when non-Muslims attack or threaten or kill thousands of Muslims as “collateral damage”, the extremists’ cause is magnified. Anger, and Islam, in this case are a terrible thing. Muslims see themselves everywhere as the worldwide Ummah. They are not just individual groups of believers spread out through a number of separate nations. So when their countries, or their Ummah, are attacked, some are driven by rage, revenge, mental health problems, or it seems by just not fitting in well in their adopted society and being criticised or picked on, to kill the infidels wherever they are.

There’s no getting away from it. It’s been happening all over the world. And it seems that the larger the community of Muslims, the more likely it is to happen. It’s often not parents who carry out these random assassinations of innocent people. It’s their children. Those who are now being exposed to extremist ideas all over the telly & the internet. I’ve found myself thinking when I or my loved ones have gone into an enclosed shopping mall what an ideal target this would be for some religious fanatic, and how that would affect everybody.

That’s my take on this issue anyway, and my concern, and I think the concern of many in Britain & Europe and Africa, and Asia, and other parts of the world. I wondered if anyone else had any thoughts they wanted to share.

Gezza

Trump versus Muslims

Now Ted Cruz and John Kasich have both suspended their campaigns Donald Trump is assured of the Republican nomination to contest the US presidency attention is turning to what Trump might do if he gets elected.

One issue he has spoken strongly about is Muslims, saying he would consider a register to track the movements of Muslims in the US, he might close down mosques and has called for a complete shut down of Muslims entering the country within his first 100 days in office.

That’s potentially quite scary stuff, or it should scare people who remember history and where persecution has led.

The Washington Post: ‘It could get a lot worse for Muslims in America’

My neighborhood of Chevy Chase is a leafy and peaceful slice of Northwest Washington. But this week, the news here is of a woman assaulted outside the local Starbucks by a Donald Trump supporter, she says — for the sin of being Muslim.

Police on Monday released surveillance video showing a heavyset white woman shouting at, and then pouring a bottle of liquid onto, a woman in a Muslim headscarf seated outside a Starbucks on a recent weeknight. Police are investigating a possible hate crime.

The victim said the attacker called her a “worthless piece of Muslim trash” and a “terrorist.” And the attacker said she was supporting Trump because he would send the Muslims “back to where you came from.”

“She mentioned this man’s name to me as a way of saying he’s going to put all of you out of this country,” the woman, who asked not to be identified, told me Tuesday.

But this is her country. She’s African American, born in Minneapolis, reared in Chicago and now living in the District — where, until now, she never thought she’d have a foul-smelling liquid poured on her for wearing a headscarf.

Nasty stuff on a small scale.

At the core of Trump’s candidacy so far has been his disparagement of women, immigrants, Latinos and African Americans, his mockery of the disabled, his play with Jewish stereotypes and his demonizing of Muslims. They all should be taken into account, but for now let’s focus on the last.

Asked about a system to register and track Muslims in the United States, Trump said, “I would certainly implement that — absolutely.” He said he would “certainly look at” closing mosques.

He falsely said there were “thousands” cheering the collapse of the World Trade Center from New Jersey, with its “heavy Arab population.”

Trump called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.”

Trump continues at rallies to repeat an apocryphal story about U.S. Gen. John Pershing executing Muslim prisoners in the Philippines decades ago using bullets dipped in pig’s blood.

At a rally, a Trump supporter called President Obama a Muslim and said Muslims are “a problem in this country.” Trump allowed both of those statements to stand.

This could easily lead to very nasty stuff on a large scale, potentially a very large scale.

I’m aware there is quite strong support for major persecution of millions of Americans based on their religion.

The first Muslims arrived in the US as slaves from Africa. That their descendants could be restricted and monitored because of their religion would be disgraceful.

Trump isn’t president yet, he still has to beat Hillary Clinton, but his rise has been unpredictable and he could tap into a large vein of American intolerance and win.

He would still have to be able to enact draconian laws and there may be resistance to that from Congress and the Senate, and possibly the Supreme Court.

But that someone promoting such intolerance can get as far as being a presidential candidate with a close to 50/50 chance of becoming President will be alarming to many in the US and around the world.

OMSA and Whale Oil anti Muslim posts

Whale Oil has run a series of posts over the past months attacking and criticising ISIS and Muslims and refugees from the Middle East etc.

And they are also a member of the Online Media Standards Authority.

A post by Cameron Slater suggesting generally,ambiguously to “The only solution is to kill them before the kill us” – see Slater: “The only solution is to kill them…” – has kicked up a fuss on social media which led to Action Station starting a petition to the Human Rights Commission and promoting “Stand Up To Bullies and Hate Speech”.

Naturesong posted this comment at The Standard (and repeated here)

I am not accusing anyone of bullying.
I am not suggesting that hate speech laws or in fact any using any legal means to silence him or his blog.

The point I’ve obviously not articulated well enough, is that the blog WO is a member of OMSA.
As a member the blog agrees to a minimum set of standards.
I’m suggesting that the blog be held to them.

It’s a personal responsibility argument.

Also:

The Online Media Standards Authority is the self-regulatory body of which WO blog is a member.

Which is correct and brings up a good point.

Whale Oil is listed as a member of OMSA here.

And OMSA has a Code of Standards (for Online News and Current Affairs Content):

Introduction

The objective of the Code is to set out agreed standards for the publication of news and current affairs content published on the websites of OMSA members.

Freedom of speech and social responsibility underpin this Code the application of which operates within the principles of Natural Justice.

The Code operates in an online context – its application will always take account of the nature of the internet, which provides a forum for free speech, robust debate, multiplicity of views and user control.

It’s good to see freedom of speech rated as important, along with the balance of social responsibility.

Under Part C – Social Responsibilities:

Standard 5 Responsible content

Publishers should ensure news and current affairs content:

  • is responsible;
  • is not presented in such a way as to cause panic, or unwarranted alarm or undue distress; and
  • does not deceive.

It’s debatable whether the Whale Oil post complies with those points.

Under Guidelines: 5d. Where sponsorship, gift or financial inducement is received for content published it should be declared. – this is something Whale Oil may (or may not) breach but it may be difficult to prove. But this is a different issue.

Standard 6 Discrimination and Denigration

Publishers of news and current affairs content should not encourage discrimination against, or denigration of, any section of the New Zealand community on account of gender, sexual orientation, race, age, disability, occupational status, or as a consequence of legitimate expression of religion, culture or political belief.

Guideline

6a. This standard is not intended to prevent the publication of material that is:

  • factual, or
  • the expression of genuinely held opinion, or
  • the reporting of legitimate humour, drama or satire.

Slater’s comment “The only solution is to kill them before the kill us” is presented more as fact than opinion although it is presumably an opinion.

It’s not humour, drama or satire.

But it’s possible a case could be made that Whale Oil, either through this one post or through a series of posts because they may “encourage discrimination against, or denigration of, any section of the New Zealand community on account of gender, sexual orientation, race, age, disability, occupational status, or as a consequence of legitimate expression of religion, culture or political belief”.

If you think it’s worth complaining here’s the OMSA Complaint Form which states:

Any person or an organisation within New Zealand can complain about any news and current affairs material published online by our members, which they consider breaches the Code of Standards.

A complaint must be lodged within 14 days of the content first being posted on the publisher’s website.

Seems like a more appropriate approach then the petition to the Human Rights Commission, if anyone thought that Slater’s post or posts that promote anti-Muslim feelings justified it.