Call for stronger focus on breaking down sense of isolation

1:50 pm on 10 March 2020

Muslim women leaders have called on the security forces to extend their intelligence gathering of the alt right and white supremacists both here and overseas.

Aliya Danzeisen, Assistant Co-ordinator of the Islamic Women's Council

Aliya Danzeisen says the Islamic Women's Council doubts that surveillance of extremists is the best way to deal with their beliefs. Photo: RNZ / Luke McPake

It was one of a raft of recommendations from the Islamic Women's Council to the Royal Commission into the mosque attacks.

They said in their submission, shared exclusively with RNZ's Insight programme, there was also a need for a robust whole-of-government approach to preventing extremism focused on strengthening connections within vulnerable groups.

photo of documents

The Islamic Women's Council has a raft of suggestions in its evidence to the Royal Commission into the mosque attacks. Photo: RNZ /Dom Thomas

The council's Aliya Danzeisen said rather than continuing to put huge amounts into surveillance, support was needed to build societies so that communities did not feel isolated and disenfranchised and individuals weren't tempted into extremism.

"This is not just for the Muslim community. You would find it now very openly with people who are feeling isolated, related to the white supremacy movements that are out there and impacting on us," Danzeisen said.

The Islamic Women's Council has also called for the urgent introduction of a safe system to report hate speech and crime and for that system to be linked to security agencies' databases.

They also want that system to be connected to gun licence applications and renewals. If someone has engaged in serious hate speech or crimes, they should not be eligible for gun ownership and all licences should be for two years, rather than the current 10, the council says.

The overall submission stated: "The public service including police and security agencies has failed dramatically not protecting the Muslim community."

It documented repeated failings to take the warnings about growing Islamophobia seriously enough.

Now the council's leaders want reforms of the public sector and personal apologies from the person at the top of the public service, the State Services Commissioner to both them, the Muslim community and the country as a whole.

Those who suffered financially due to the attacks, but are not covered by ACC, should also receive reparations, the council said.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs