Wednesday, 25 July 2007

NZ Islamophobes echo touring Aussie extremists

RAM - Residents Action Movement
Media release on Voices of Peace
25 July 2007

NZ Islamophobes echo
touring Aussie extremists

Voices of Peace public meetings, featuring British MP George Galloway, are being held in Auckland on 27-29 July to counter the first stirrings of organised Islamophobia in New Zealand. These meetings (advertised at bottom) are being hosted by RAM, the Residents Action Movement.

"A group of far right Islamophobic ideologues from Australia, headed by Stuart Robinson and Daniel Shayesteh, have entered New Zealand to wage war against Muslims and their religion," said RAM organiser Grant Morgan.

"These offshore extremists demonise Islam as an 'evil' force of 'violence', alleging that Muslims in New Zealand will 'terrorise' everyone else in a 'holy war' until they either 'submit' to Allah or are 'killed'. Their denunciation of 'multiculturalism' exposes their racist hostility towards not only Muslims, but also other recent immigrants to this country."

"These Australian bigots are speaking at closed-door 'Mosques and Miracles' conferences in Auckland and Wellington between 25-28 July. Their aim is to recruit the leadership core of a racist campaign against New Zealand Muslims and their faith," said Grant Morgan.

This Australian-imported Islamophobia is being echoed by a minority of New Zealand's Christian leaders who are promoting the 'Mosques and Miracles' tour. They include:

  • MURRAY DILLNER, director of the New Zealand chapter of Middle East Christian Outreach, an extreme right fundamentalist missionary group. Dillner is a key organiser of the "Mosques and Miracles" tour in this country. He alleges that radical Islam will "take away the freedoms we have in New Zealand and we will no longer have freedom of speech". Many Muslims have immigrated to New Zealand in order to take over the country. He links the "threat" of Islam in New Zealand to the terrorist attacks in America on 11 September 2001. "It's an underlying threat, but it's like the twin towers - they imploded. Islam does the same thing to a society - it makes it implode. The mindset of Islam is to take over the world. They will do it by any means they can." Dillner is calling on the church in New Zealand to "rise up" against Islam. ("Challenge Weekly" 19.3.07 and "The Press" 23.3.07.)

  • BRUCE QUEDLEY, director of the New Zealand chapter of Open Doors, which is organising the "Mosques and Miracles" conferences in Auckland and Wellington. Quedley said that Islam was often portrayed as a religion of peace, but "realistically that's not what happens". He claims that Christian and Jewish people are compelled to pay a special tax and live as second-class citizens in Islamic society if they wish to live at peace with Muslims. ("Challenge Weekly" 19.3.07 and "The Press" 23.3.07.)

  • 'CHALLENGE WEEKLY', an ultra-conservative Christian newspaper circulated mainly within New Zealand's right-wing Baptist and fundamentalist churches. Starting in March 2007, when it carried the headline "Conferences to look at 'threat' of Islam in NZ", this paper has uncritically supported the Islamophobic agenda of the "Mosques and Miracles" conferences.

  • GLYN CARPENTER, national director of Vision Network, a right-wing fundamentalist coalition in New Zealand. After the Baptist church that was hosting the Christchurch "Mosques and Miracles" conference pulled out in reaction to its "intolerant" ideologues, Carpenter stepped into the role of chief New Zealand spokesperson for the Australian extremists. Carpenter has tried to pretty up their image, saying: "It's a pity that media coverage has portrayed the conference as being anti-Islam. It's created unnecessary fears. It's not that." He claimed that "Mosques and Miracles" organisers were not trying to present Islam as "bad". However, he criticised the "element within Islam which is hostile to Western countries and to the Christian faith". ("Challenge Weekly" 19.3.07 and 21.5.07.)

Over recent months, Destiny Church leader BRIAN TAMAKI has begun publicly attacking New Zealand Muslims and their faith. While playing no apparent role in the "Mosques and Miracles" conferences, Tamaki's statements reveal a mindset close to that of the Australian Islamophobes. Here are a few of Tamaki's comments:

  • Tamaki accused the New Zealand government of promoting a statement on religious diversity which "downplays our Christian heritage and represents our country as religiously neutral in an attempt to placate radical Muslims". ("Challenge Weekly" 21.5.07.)

  • "We are at a point where Christian-based nations must not be afraid to declare their religious allegiance... This would mean that alternative or foreign religions would not be afforded equal status to the established national religion, therefore restrictions on these religions would need to apply." He warned that New Zealand should learn from Britain and France where large-scale immigration had been permitted and "mosques are allowed to flourish", and this "proliferation of Islam has significantly weakened their sense of national safety". ("NZ Herald" 29.5.07 and "Challenge Weekly" 28.5.07.)

  • "This nation must have the right to discuss... whether we are going to establish and affirm and accept our religious identity as a country, or whether we are going to walk away and let that be lost, perhaps forever, and to allow foreign religions and foreign beliefs and other philosophies to proliferate into our country and begin to defile the very soil of this land." ("NZ Herald" 30.5.07.)

"RAM is organising the Voices of Peace meetings as a positive alternative to the sudden growth of organised racism against Muslims in New Zealand," said Grant Morgan. "RAM supports the values of social inclusion, equal rights for all and world peace. We must win the battle of ideas against the Islamophobes, or else we will end up living in a country where racism has become the dominant ideology."


GEORGE GALLOWAY will be addressing these two meetings:


7.30pm, Saturday 28 July.
Auckland Girls Grammar School Theatre.
16 Howe St (off Karangahape Rd).
The three other speakers are:
  • JAVED KHAN, president of Federation of Islamic Associations of NZ.
  • PAUL BUCHANAN, international security analyst & director of the Working Group on Alternative Security Perspectives.
  • GRANT MORGAN, organiser of RAM - Residents Action Movement.
Limit of 800 seats, so those interested are being advised to get there early. NO DOOR CHARGE. Donations will be accepted. Off street car parks available.


6.30pm, Friday 27 July.
[NOTE: Meeting starts a half-hour later than first advertised.]
Library Basement, University of Auckland, Alfred St, central city (opposite Maidment Theatre).
The three other speakers are:
  • NIBRAS KARDAMAN, young Muslim woman & representative of the Working Together Group.
  • HANNAH SPIERER co-leader of Greens on Campus.
  • GRANT MORGAN, organiser of RAM - Residents Action Movement.
NO DOOR CHARGE. Donations will be accepted.

Both meetings OPEN TO THE MEDIA.


There will also be Voices of Peace workshops where the nature of Islamophobia will be examined by Muslims and non-Muslims and moves made towards forming a broad activist network which will campaign against racism and other social injustices. George Galloway will give the introduction.
2-5pm, Sunday 29 July.
Fickling Convention Centre, 546 Mt Albert Rd, Three Kings.
Limit of 250 participants, so those interested are being advised to get there early. Plenty of off street parking. NO DOOR CHARGE. Donations will be accepted.

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