NZ Muslims Launch New Human Rights Group

A new Muslim-led human rights organization was launched this week to combat the rise of violent far-right activities and Islamophobia in New Zealand, Scoop reported.

“Our objective is to offer a robust and secure platform where victims and witnesses can share the information with us confidentially,” Azad Khan, spokesperson of the Foundation Against Islamophobia and Racism (FAIR) said.

“Victims have the option of registering the incident for reporting purposes or requesting us to assist them further. All information will be kept confidential and private and not shared with third parties without prior consent.”

The NZ-based independent organization advocates for the human rights of Muslims and to combat the rise of violent far-right activities and Islamophobia in New Zealand.

One of the key projects of FAIR is to provide a Report Islamophobia portal where victims can report incidents.

Ikhlaq Kashkari, President of the New Zealand Muslims Association (NZMA) said, “this is an important project and a step in the right direction to expose and combat Islamophobia in New Zealand. NZMA is fully supporting this initiative. Better data is the key to understanding and eradicating Islamophobia.”

Currently, there is no register of hate crime and Islamophobic incidents.

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Islamophobia in Australia

Christchurch massacre has brought attention to the ubiquitous Islamophobic discourse in Australia where more than 300 Muslim journalists, academics and activists issued a statement urging the government to take steps against Islamophobic bigotry.

In 2017, the polling company Essential Report found that 41% of Australians would support a ban on Muslims entering Australia, in a similar way to that instituted by Donald Trump in the US, and more than 53% of Australians were very or somewhat concerned about the number of Muslims in Australia.

According to the latest Census, the Muslim population in Australia stands at 2.6%, but that hasn’t stopped more than 51% of Australians believing that the number of Muslims in Australia is anywhere from 3% to more than 10%.

Islamophobia in Australia is often facilitated and perpetuated in the media through the stereotyping of Muslims as violent and uncivilized.

Various Australian politicians and political commentators have capitalized on these negative stereotypes and this has contributed to the marginalization, discrimination, and exclusion of the Muslim community.

Islamophobia and intolerance towards Muslims have existed well prior to the September 11 attacks on the US. For example, Muslim immigration to Australia was restricted under the White Australia Policy (1901-1975).