CHRISTCHURCH (HRNW) – Aliya Danzeisen rises before dawn every day to hear the news so she can prepare her school-age daughters for any harassment they may face for being Muslim.
“We don’t feel any safer,” the Muslim community leader says, reflecting on the 12 months since the Christchurch mosque attacks, in which a self-declared white supremacist killed 51 Muslims at Friday prayers.
The abuse experienced prior to the attacks on March 15 last year died down immediately after the killings, Danzeisen said, adding: “It felt the entire New Zealand population was rallying behind us.”
But she says it is now on the rise again, a year on from the killings that rattled the normally peaceful South Pacific nation, with unease among the Muslim community amid ongoing vitriol and threats.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern — who received widespread praise for her handling of the aftermath of the massacre — admitted Friday there was “much more” her country could do to tackle white supremacists.
Anjum Rahman, co-founder of the Islamic Women’s Council of New Zealand said there was an “undercurrent or rhetoric of hate… it isn’t just our community, we see it a lot in online hate (towards) the transgender community.
“I wouldn’t say it’s specifically just us, but we’re feeling it.”
Muslim women who wear headscarves were targeted “because they think we’re vulnerable and can’t fight back”, she said.