21 Jul 2018

Alt-right speakers Stefan Molyneux and Lauren Southern anger NZ Muslims

6:34 am on 21 July 2018

New Zealand's Muslim community is angry that two controversial alt-right speakers have been allowed to work in the country.

Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux

Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux Photo: Supplied / YouTube screen shot

Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux were banned from speaking at Auckland Council's Bruce Mason Centre, but were today granted working visas by Immigration New Zealand.

The two Canadians are known for their Islamophobic views and the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand president, Hazim Arafeh, expressed his displeasure after the visa announcement.

"This type of speech makes all Muslims of the world very, very angry.

"There's a lot of tension in the community - there's a lot of profiling of Muslims and that's not conducive to the public good."

The two speakers are used to finding themselves at the centre of controversy.

Ms Southern turned up to an event for survivors of sexual assault carrying a sign that said: "There is no rape culture in the West." She also wrote a book called Barbarians: How Baby Boomers, Immigrants and Islam Screwed my Generation.

Mr Molyneux subscribes to a conspiracy theory about a white genocide and claims that violence is caused by how women treat children.

Such views prompted Auckland Council to ban them from speaking at its venues.

But Immigration Minister Ian Lees-Galloway said they were still entitled to work here.

"The grounds on which someone can be excluded from New Zealand involve things like being involved in a terrorist organisation, being convicted of a crime or have clearly been involved in inciting violence.

"None of those applied to those two people."

Event promoter David Pellowe said moves were underway to try and secure a private venue for the two speakers but it was proving difficult.

A group of prominent New Zealanders, including former National Party leader Don Brash, formed the Free Speech Coalition after the council issued its ban.

The group yesterday filed papers in the High Court to try and get the ban overturned, and member Stephen Franks welcomed the latest decision to grant visas.

"The minister said it exactly right: You might not like something but you still defend their right to come here and say it."

The two provocateurs are currently in Australia, a trip that has not been without controversy.

Ms Southern, who arrived at an event wearing a T-shirt that read, "It's okay to be white," was billed $68,000 by Victoria Police for the extra officers that had to be deployed due for her safety.

Organisers of the New Zealand leg of the tour hope to bring the speakers across the Tasman around 3 August.

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