Mosque terror attacks: Muslims still at risk of being targets for violence, coronial hearing told

5:03 pm on 23 February 2022

The Islamic Women's Council has told a coronial hearing into the Christchurch mosque attacks that Muslims are still in danger of being targeted by terrorists in New Zealand.

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

Aliya Danzeisen told a coronial inquiry the Islamic Women's Council's leadership has been threatened with poisoning, rape and being killed since the 2019 massacre. Photo: RNZ / Luke McPake

The coronial hearing is examining the final moments in the lives of 51 Muslims murdered in the Christchurch terror attacks on 15 March 2019.

The inquiry was opened to address any unanswered questions following the criminal investigation and prosecution process and the Royal Commission of Inquiry.

Its purpose is to establish the circumstances of the deaths and make recommendations to reduce the chance of other attacks happening in similar circumstances.

The Islamic Women's Council has asked Coroner Brigitte Windley to examine the role of radicalisation on digital platforms as part of the inquiry.

The Australian gunman who carried out the attacks immersed himself in far-right content online.

Council national coordinator Aliya Danzeisen told the coronial hearing today that the council believes innocent lives could have been saved if authorities had delved into the virtual life of the terrorist.

"Had the full digital footprint of the terrorist been looked into and effectively moderated by these platforms, they would have noticed a concerning pattern of behaviour and they could have either redirected him to socially accepted content or alerted authorities but it appears they chose to ignore that for their bottom line."

She said Muslims are still in danger of being targeted by terrorists in New Zealand.

The council's leadership has been threatened with poisoning, rape and being killed since the massacre.

"There is a clear and present danger within New Zealand that another attack similar to March 15 can occur again.

"Authorities have confirmed this over the past months and even within the last two weeks. An example - the Wellington police commander recognised such a risk," she told the hearing.

The council has repeatedly raised an alarming rise in hatred and harassment online with the government and media companies, she said.

However, digital platforms have been unwilling or unable to tackle online radicalisation.

The Federation of Islamic Associations wants the coroner to further scrutinise police gun licensing failures.

The Royal Commission into the mass shooting found police failed to properly administer the licensing system, which was lax, open to easy exploitation and gamed by the gunman.

Federation spokesman Abdur Razzaq told the hearing the gunman might have abandoned his plans if he did not have a licence.

A lawyer for police has told the coronial hearing the gun licensing issue was dealt with fairly and squarely by the royal commission.

The entire coronial hearing is being held remotely, via video link, because of the Covid-19 risk.

It is expected to finish tomorrow.

22/02/2022  POOL 
Masjid attacks scope hearing
@ Wellington District court 
Pictured: Coroner Brigitte Windley

Coroner Brigitte Handley is overseeing the hearing. Photo: POOL / STUFF LTD

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