New Zealand’s Islamic community leaders say the Royal Commission into the Christchurch Mosques terrorist attack confirms the racism and bias within the country’s institutions.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern released the findings of the major investigation, which took 18 months to collate.
Ms Ardern apologised for government failings, with police and security chiefs also offering their own apologies.
The act of contrition was a request of Islamic Women’s Council New Zealand (IWCNZ) and its two leaders Anjum Rahman and Aliya Danzeisen.
However, the pair attacked the insistence of Ms Ardern that “no failures within any government agencies that would have allowed the individual’s planning and preparation to have been detected”.
The Royal Commission found the country’s security agency was preoccupied by Islamic terrorism rather than the threat of white supremacism employed by the terrorist.
The IWCNZ said it was “concerning the commissioners found systemic failures and an inappropriate concentration of resources towards Islamic terrorism, and yet state that these would not have made a difference to the terrorist being detected prior to the event”.
The Royal Commission has also posed a raft of social cohesion measures.
Ms Rahman and Ms Danzeisen said “had these measures been in place, white supremacy may have been prioritised two years prior to the attacks”.
The IWCNZ’s conclusion is “justice has not been served” by the report, calling for a fresh coroner’s inquest with public hearings.
Muslim Association of Canterbury spokesperson Abdigani Ali said “we’ve known for a long time that the Muslim community has been targeted with hate speech and hate crimes”.
“This report shows that we are right,” Mr Ali said.
Gamal Fouda, imam of Al Noor Mosque, one of the targeted houses of worship, agreed.
“The report shows that institutional prejudice and unconscious bias exists in government agencies and that needs to change,” he said.
“We should have been safe here.”
New hate speech laws are one of the 44 recommendations made by the Royal Commission, which have been accepted by Ms Ardern’s government.