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Christchurch Muslims Oppose Film Plans on Massacre

The Muslim community in Christchurch have opposed new plans for a movie on the mosque massacre as they are still grieving.

“[It] will probably inflame the situation at this stage,” Muslim Association of Canterbury (MAC) president Shagaf Khan told Stuff.

“Whatever the reality in front of us, why do we need to repeat it again?”

50 Muslims were killed and injured by an Islamophobic European-Australian terrorist in a massacre in two Christchurch mosques last March 15.

The plans for a new movie on the tragedy were announced by Egyptian director Moez Masoud.

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The Cairo-based writer, director, songwriter, and noted public speaker made the announcement on Twitter just over a week after the attack.

“What has happened and is happening in New Zealand deserves history and human documentation,” Masoud wrote.

He said the film would be called Hello Brother – the words spoken to the accused gunman as he entered the Al Noor mosque and opened fire. It will focus on a family that had escaped from Afghanistan.

Khan said he also had a call from a Turkish filmmaker about two weeks after the attacks, but he refused to talk further.

“I stopped him there and said it’s not going to help us…because it’s just so fresh.”

The Muslim Association of Canterbury issued a statement on its Facebook page saying no proposal had been presented to them, nor had they agreed to a film.

“One man visited the mosque yesterday [Tuesday] and said that they had vague ideas about shooting something but no proposal was made to us.

“We cannot stop such projects going ahead if filmmakers choose to embark on them but the Muslim Association of Canterbury regards the dignity and privacy of our community and the dignity of those whose lives were taken as paramount. We have always sought to protect this dignity and will continue to do so.”

The film has also received some backlash from outside the Muslim community, with Kiwi director Jason Lei Howden saying he hoped New Zealand crews “refuse to work on it”.

“Please can everyone in NZ boycott this? Stop these ghouls from capitalizing on murder and terror,” he wrote on Twitter.

“We were all bombarded with the viral video now we have to watch it reenacted? It’s shameful. It gives the killer what he wanted: fame and notoriety.”

Christchurch is the largest city in the South Island of New Zealand and the seat of the Canterbury Region. It is home to 404,500 residents, making it New Zealand’s 3rd most populous city behind Auckland and Wellington.