Muslim women's group warned of threat to mosques 'on day of Christchurch attack'

Muslim women's group warned of threat to mosques 'on day of Christchurch attack'
A Muslim women's council told a closed-door inquiry they were warned of a threat against mosques on the day of the Christchurch attack but were failed by authorities.
2 min read
07 July, 2020
A to burn a Qur'an outside a mosque appeared on Facebook [Getty]
Police in New Zealand were warned about a threat to local mosques on the day a gunman stormed two places of worship in the city of Christchurch, killing 51 people, The Guardian reported on Monday.

In a submission to a closed-door inquiry into the attack, the Islamic Women’s Council of New Zealand (IWCNZ) said a threat had been made to burn a Quran outside a New Zealand mosque on 15 March 2019.

Police initially dismissed reports of the threat until the council insisted it be followed up.

While the threat was not made by the man guilty of the attacks, the IWCNZ told the royal commission that increased police presence outside mosques on the day could have slowed down or prevented the attack.

In their submission, which has not yet been made public, the group accused the police of failing to "develop a national strategy to deal with threats against Muslims and mosques".

IWCNZ had tried to raise awareness about the specific threat posed by far-right groups to the highest levels of the country's government as early as 2015.

Their concerns were repeatedly dismissed by authorities, according to their submission.

The independent inquiry into the shooting will report back to New Zealand's government in the end of July, when the government will be able to release its findings.

Frances Joychild, a lawyer representing the women's council at the inquiry, told The Guardian she was "sickened" by public servant’s negligence shown towards pleas for security.

"They did know, they just didn’t care." she said.

The group had met with a whole host of government bodies, raising issues affecting Muslim women presentations to officials.

With the rise of "alt-right" their concerns became more pressing, according to The Guardian report.

In a meeting with the head of Auckland’s spy agency, they even warned that Muslims were being profiled at the expense of the far-right.

The group is now campaigning for the government to issue hate speech laws as well as providing victims and families of the bereaved with reparations.

Brenton Tarrant, who plead guilty to all 51 murders and a terrorism change, is due to be sentenced in August and faces life in prison.

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