20 Mar 2019

Politicians must stop inciting division after shootings - MP

3:48 pm on 20 March 2019

Green MP Golriz Ghahraman has challenged Parliament to "change the way we do politics" in the aftermath of the Christchurch terror attacks.

Green MP Golriz Ghahraman on the Foreign Affairs, Defence, and Trade select committee.

Green MP Golriz Ghahraman says "hate speech is a slippery slope to atrocity". Photo: VNP / Daniela Maoate-Cox

Politicians bore some responsibility for the shootings that killed 50 people at two mosques on Friday, said Ms Ghahraman, who was born in Iran and arrived in New Zealand as a nine-year-old refugee with her parents.

"There sit among us those who have for years fanned the flames of division, who have blamed migrants for the housing crisis," she said.

"None of us are directly responsible for what happened on Friday - we're all horrified - but we're all on notice now, we have to change the way we do politics.

"Our most vulnerable communities are hurt, we're scared - white supremacists want us dead."

Ms Ghahraman said although the man accused of the shootings was not born in New Zealand, the ideology that led to the Christchurch mosque shootings exists in pockets of New Zealand.

"This was terrorism committed by a white supremacist.

"It was planned at length and gone unchecked by authorities because white supremacy was not seen as a pressing threat, even as some in the Muslim community were."

Ms Ghahraman said ethnic communities, refugees and tangata whenua had raised concerns about racist ideology before Friday's attacks.

She had received online threats of death, rape and gun violence.

"I receive all the barrage of hate online.

"Every minority in New Zealand knows this as a little bit of their truth.

"We can't pretend this was an aberration from overseas - the truth is it happened here and it began with hate speech allowed to grow online.

"History has shown us hate speech is a slippery slope to atrocity and New Zealand must address that now."

She thanked the hundreds of thousands of people who had turned out for memorials for the mosque victims.

"Dunedin ran out of flowers on Saturday, because they were all at our mosques.

"That incredible outpouring of love for our Muslim communities we've seen over the past few days, we have to weave that into an enduring fabric of our society."

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