New Zealand Muslims objected to a plan for a film about the 2019 Christchurch mosque shootings. A white terrorist had killed 51 people on March 15. Meanwhile, local Muslims say the attack was still too raw for grieving families and their community.
The film, “They Are Us”, will focus on the response by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to the attacks on two mosques. The title is drawn from Ardern’s words on that day. The world praised the 40-year-old leader’s compassionate response to the attack united her shocked country.
“There are still many sensitivities around the tragic events,” said Abdigani Ali. He is a spokesman for the Muslim Association of Canterbury.
“Although recognition of our prime minister for her response to attacks is well deserved; we question the timing and whether a movie is appropriate right now? The terrorist attack is still raw for our community.”
Meanwhile, Ardern has distanced herself from the project with her office. Moreover, she said, she and the government have no involvement with it.
‘They Are Us’ – The movie
Australian actress Rose Byrne will play Ardern in the film, the Hollywood Reporter said. Meanwhile, New Zealander Andrew Niccol would write and direct it.
“They Are Us” was not so much about the attack but the response to it. Niccol told the Hollywood Reporter. It described the film as an “inspirational story about the young leader’s response to the tragic events”.
But some Muslims questioned that focus.
“This is not an inspiring story,” said Mohamed Hassan, a journalist, and poet based in Auckland, on Radio New Zealand.
“It is a tragedy, one that must always be centred around the Muslim victims and their families. No one else.”
#TheyAreUsShutDown was trending on Twitter in New Zealand.
Ali admits people should know about the story of the shootings. But added it should be done so in an appropriate, authentic and sensitive way.
“There needs to be a lot of work done in New Zealand in terms of hate speech laws, recognizing Islamophobia does exist in our society and the institutional prejudice within our government apparatus before a blockbuster film comes out stating that we’ve done a great job here in New Zealand,” he said.
Muslims around the world lauded how New Zealand PM Ardern helped the grieving community come out of the great tragedy. While the world was disgusted at the New Zealand shooter who remained emotionless during the shooting hearing.
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