The Foundation Against Islamophobia and Racism (FAIR) is a newly formed NZ-based independent Muslim human rights advocacy organisation. One of the key projects of FAIR is to provide a Report Islamophobia (http://report.islamophobia.co.nz/) portal where victims can report incidents.
Azad Khan, spokesperson for FAIR says, “Our objective is to offer a robust and secure platform where victims and witnesses can share the information with us confidentially. Victims have the option of registering the incident for reporting purposes or requesting us to assist them further. All information will be kept confidential and private and not shared with third parties without prior consent.”
The organisation exists to advocate for the human rights of Muslims and to combat the rise of violent far-right activities and Islamophobia in New Zealand. We will also conduct community educational workshops about Islamophobia and racism.
Ikhlaq Kashkari, President of the New Zealand Muslims Association (NZMA) said, “this is an important project and a step in the right direction to expose and combat Islamophobia in New Zealand. NZMA is fully supporting this initiative. Better data is the key to understanding and eradicating Islamophobia.”
Post-March 15th, there continue to be Islamophobic and hate crime incidents. Many of these incidents go unreported for reasons including fear, community backlash, revenge, stigmatisation and the lack of confidence in the authorities to take appropriate and immediate action.
Currently, there is no register of hate crime and Islamophobic incidents and as a result, there is no data to analyse and strategise on how to combat such incidents. Going forward we hope to work closely with researchers, community organisations and government agencies to collectively create a safe and tolerant society.
University of Waikato academic, Dr Arama Rata, said, “The Crown has failed its duty to protect Muslim and other communities of colour from hate crime. Systematically collecting hate crime data is the very least the Crown could be doing. It should not have taken the loss of 51 lives, and it should not be left to members of the affected community to undertake this work, unsupported. However, its encouraging to know these crucial data will soon exist.”