Friday, May 24, 2024

Islamic Women’s Council calls for urgent action on hate speech

The Islamic Women’s Council of New Zealand is urging new Prime Minister, Chris Hipkins, to pass legislation to address harmful and dangerous speech prior to election day in October.

“There is no question that IWCNZ and its membership are disappointed with the withdrawal
of the proposed amendment to protect religious communities,” the Council said in a statement.

“While we acknowledge the proposal was not expansive enough nor sufficient to prevent all types of inciteful and dangerous speech, we saw it as a first step in addressing the hatred that has taken and continues to take a disproportionate toll on our community. The withdrawal is a backward movement.

National Coordinator of IWCNZ, Aliya Danzeisen said the Council had been advocating for the modification and expansion of harmful speech legislation for nearly two decades.

Throughout that period Muslim women and children have faced an onslaught of hatred, she said.

“This is not a new issue; however, it is definitely a growing risk that needs to be tackled quickly. How many more people need to suffer from hate and for how long before our legislators will have the courage to do what is right?”

“There is no more time or consideration needed! The best thing to do would be for the
government to adhere to the recommendations of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the
Christchurch attacks and to follow the steps that the Commissioners laid out in detail to pass the needed legislation,” said Ms Danzeisen.

The Council noted it had been more than two years since the Royal Commissions issued its report and recommendations.

“NZ legislators have shown an ability to pass legislation quickly when urgency is required, and this matter is beyond urgent,” Ms Danzeisen said.

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