A new movie on the response to the Christchurch mosque terrorist attacks has stirred criticism from New Zealand Muslims for focusing on New Zealand Prime Minister’s response instead of the victims.
“In my view, which is a personal view, it feels very soon and very raw for New Zealand,” New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told TVNZ, Agence France Presse reported.
“And while there are so many stories that should be told at some point, I don’t consider mine to be one of them — they are the community’s stories, the families’ stories.”
A film called “They Are Us” is being planned about the attacks on two mosques by a white supremacist gunman on March 15, 2019, in which 51 people were killed, the Hollywood Reporter said last week.
The magazine described the film as an “inspirational story” about Ardern’s response to the violence.
Ardern confirmed that she and her government had no involvement with the film, adding that the Muslim community should be at the center of any film about the shootings, not her.
“I agree that there are stories that at some point should be told from March 15. But they are the stories from our Muslim community so they need to be at the center of that. I don’t consider mine to be one of the stories that needs to be told,” she said.
Muslim community advocate Guled Mire told the 1 NEWS network that he thought the film was “distasteful”.
“It completely feeds into this white savior mentality,” he said.
On the other hand, the National Islamic Youth Association launched a new petition calling for the production to be shut down has gathered more than 58,000 signatures.
The association said the proposed film “sidelines the victims and survivors and instead centers the response of a white woman”.
It said the Muslim community had not been properly consulted about the project, which has been scripted by New Zealand writer Andrew Niccol.
“Entities and individuals should not seek to commercialize or profit from a tragedy that befell our community, neither should such an atrocity be sensationalized”, association co-chair Haris Murtaza said.
Two years have passed since the grim massacre of 51 Muslims in New Zealand’s Christchurch which shook the worldwide.
Christchurch is the largest city in the South Island of New Zealand and the seat of the Canterbury Region.
It is also home to 404,500 residents, making it New Zealand’s 3rd most populous city behind Auckland and Wellington.