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Publish Date : 24 May 2019 - 02:14  ,  
News ID: 5709
TEHRAN (Basirat): Steve Addison, journalist and human rights activist, says people in New Zealand have become sensitive to hate speech, forcing those who practice Islamophobia or white supremacy further underground.
Steve Addison: Islamophobia, White Supremacy Facing Real Backlash Following Christchurch Terrorist Attacks

Speaking to FNA in an exclusive interview, Mr. Addison also commented on the status of the Muslim community after the terrorist attacks, saying, “They know that people care and are determined to help... . The survivors of the terrorist attacks will always hold a special place in New Zealand society.”

Steve Addison is a journalist and human rights activist based in Christchurch, New Zealand. He has special interest in the Middle East, refugees and human rights. He has more than 30 years of experience in the media and journalism.

Below is the full text of the interview:

Q: How do you see the response shown by the nation to the christchurch terrorist attacks?

A: The response by the nation has been overwhelming and heart-warming. I have never seen New Zealanders come together in this way before. There is a sense of collective guilt. People are questioning their own actions around stopping racism and whether they had personally done enough to welcome refugees and to ensure Muslim people feel included in society. I don’t believe it will be a short-term thing. There seems to be a determination from ordinary people to ensure the Islamic community is protected and included in New Zealand society from this point on.

People are not allowing racist comments or actions to happen in their space. New Zealanders have become more interested in understanding Islam and making sure that Islamic neighbors feel safe and included in the community. Islamic neighbors are being invited to dinner and people are dropping by Islamic neighbors with food and good wishes.

Q: Does that mean the terrorists behind the attack were alone and the nation is standing against them? Do you believe the Muslim community feels safe now?

A: I hope so and in general yes. They know that people care and are determined to help. I imagine they do worry about the small element of people who hold anti-Islamic beliefs. They possibly also fear a copycat attack. I heard of a Muslim woman in Dunedin who told our Prime Minister that only now she feels at home in New Zealand. We have an unarmed police force; for the first time in my life, police are carrying firearms, largely to prevent any other attacks. In New Zealand the move to ban semi-automatic firearms should make people feel safer. Certainly, the attacks have brought people in New Zealand closer together. The survivors of the terrorist attacks will always hold a special place in New Zealand society.

Q: The Christchurch attack has possibly triggered a global move against Islamophobia or White Supremacy. Which one do you think has been condemned more?

A: These are two quite different movements, but with shared views on Islam. The white supremacy movement is fighting a campaign against the position of the white male in society. They see themselves as somewhat replaced and irrelevant in modern society. They are generally uneducated and from less well-off backgrounds. They dislike anyone of color and females in positions of power. When they hear Islam, they think ISIS, and believe that all Islamic people are terrorists. Many of their beliefs on the role of women and Muslim community are actually similar to conservative Islam; so it is something of a paradox. Islamophobia is a fear of a significant Islamic population changing the Western way of life. Both of these movements are facing a real backlash following the terrorist attacks in Christchurch. They are being forced even further underground and this will make it difficult for them to recruit more people. The community at large has become sensitive to hate speech. People are calling it out online and in the community. It won’t be tolerated by employers and people with anti-Islamic or racist views are being socially isolated and may lose their jobs.


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