Intolerance is not us


It?s a huge stretch to assume anyone with concerns about the religion of Islam would contemplate verbally or physically attacking its Muslim followers.

But after Christchurch, Anjum Rahman and Walid Aly said they were not shocked by it. Indeed, they say they saw it coming. Either they are psychic or they are prejudiced against non-Muslims because no facts support their expectation of such a horrific attack.

All the facts point to this being a random one-off event. The facts are that the New Zealand Police has advised that the shooter acted alone. The single shooter has been apprehended and we have no history of mass attacks on Muslims to indicate a pattern.

Anjum Rahman is a founder of the Islamic Women?s Council of New Zealand set up in 1989 to protect Muslim women and she explains why Muslim women live here in fear. Quote.

We know the impacts of mainstream discourses arising from wars and terrorist attacks overseas, and from events such as the publishing of ugly cartoons.? End of quote.

Anjum Rahman for The Spinoff

In 2006 Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand president Javed Khan demanded that The Dominion Post apologise for publishing a cartoon making fun of Mohammad. Nine years later the Muslim viewpoint was seared into our hearts with Charlie Hebdo.

Charb, the murdered editor of Charlie Hebdo

But we?d already been down that path in 1969 when Tom Scott was threatened with blasphemy charges for his anti-Christian cartoon. He said he was ?sorry his original blasphemy charge had not gone to court as his defence team “was going to subpoena god”.?

Christians did not retaliate by buying guns or learning to make bombs. Tom Scott was perfectly safe because we either laughed or took umbrage. Quote.

“New Zealanders of all race and religion should rally together to build bridges across different ethnicities and help keep our country safe and secure for ourselves, our families and friends.” End of quote.

Anjum Rahman

But surely this bridge was already in place when Anjum or her forbears arrived here? What is the threat to her safety and where does it come from? Quote.

In recent times, we became concerned about the increasing pressure on our communities from rising levels of discrimination in this country, and the social issues that came with that.? End of quote.

Anjum Rahman

Could this ?rising discrimination? simply be rising public fear correlating to increasing overseas terrorist attacks? Could people be nervous around Muslims because their communities were silent after the attacks? Muslim London mayor Sadiq Khan worsened fears by saying terrorist attacks are part and parcel of living in a city. Quote.

[….] We told them [heads of government] about our concerns over the rise of vitriol and the rise of the alt-right in New Zealand. The two of us who presented, Aliya Danzeisen and myself, had very strong concerns for our personal safety ?in an emotional and reputational sense.

And those fears came to fruition during the year as we were attacked in various ways and our community was divided by the actions of some public servants.? End of quote.n

Anjum Rahman

Eventually, they found a champion in Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy. Quote.

[…] in December 2016 she [Devoy] convened a meeting with Muslim women, where we brought together everything we had been telling her over the year. She committed to using all her influence to help us and was an absolute champion for us. She has shown amazing courage in challenging the public service.? End of quote.

Anjum Rahman

Susan Devoy showed amazing stupidity, stirring up more public dissent than she quelled. Lindsay Perigo pointed out that Devoy wanted us to inherit the UK?s problem of Muslim intolerance of ill-defined ?hate speech?. Following Christchurch, Devoy may get her wish. Quote.

I am concerned that the battle Devoy was waging to turn New Zealand into Britonistan?formerly the United Kingdom, where Tommy Robinson has just been jailed for 13 months for live-streaming outside a courthouse about a Muslims-grooming-children-for-sex case?will proceed apace regardless of who staffs the Commissariat.

What happened to Tommy Robinson is what Devoy wants to happen to freedom-lovers here.? End of quote.

Devoy accused New Zealanders of intolerance from the undefendable position of Islam’s intolerance.

Multiculturalism has failed this particular group of Muslim women. The turning point for Muslims struggling with integration will be when they abandon Imams like Salafist preacher Dr Mohammad Anwar Sahib, at the At-Taqwa mosque in south Auckland who is still a major player in NZ Islamic education today.quote.

Anjum writes from a “them and us” perspective which makes me wonder if after 30 years of living here she actually wants to be part of the community at all. She is widening the rift between some Muslims and non-Muslim New Zealanders.

But Anjum is not representative of all Muslim women as some would not say what she did following the terror attack in Christchurch. Quote.

I would ask you to picture this: what if the shooting had been a Muslim perpetrator, and it was 50 non-Muslim New Zealanders who had been shot? Would our community be receiving the same level of support that we have today?

Imagine what the media commentary would have been like. We would not have been able to leave our homes, the level of retaliatory attacks on our community would have been swift and immediate, and the police would have struggled to provide any meaningful protection.? End of quote.

Anjum Rahman

That is a blatantly untrue and prejudicial hypothesis. Her view of New Zealand is not us. Intolerance is not us.