Calls for new anti-hate speech law from Christchurch Muslim student leader

A Christchurch Muslim student leader is calling for a new anti-hate speech law in the wake of the March 15 Christchurch terrorist attack.

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Bariz Shah made the plea to the Government on TVNZ1’s Breakfast. Source: Breakfast

The Canterbury University Muslim Students Association president is calling for a new anti-hate speech law.

Bariz Shah, president of the Canterbury Muslim Student told TVNZ1's Breakfast: "Ideally I’d love for the Prime Minister to say that they’re inacting a new law which basically charges anyone who says any hate speech to anybody, whether it be Muslim or non-Muslim… …anything along those lines would be very reassuring."

He says as a nation we must come up with a solution to the hate.

"We have to take a stance as a nation, our Government has to take a stance.. … it’s something that we’ve dealt with as a nation, we have to face the consequences and come up with a solution as soon as possible."

Mr Shah says inacting a law would be an immediate solution, but this wouldn't be enough long term.

"Obviously this is not a long term solution because people who have these types of ideologies they’ll just go in hiding and they won’t express themselves. So the long term solution would be to provide people with knowledge.

"We need to break down this barrier of ignorance that people have about different religions and educate young people about different religions. It’s not meant for terrorism."

At the university his team have been delivering food bags to the Muslim community and working on a documentary about Islamaphobia.

"It’s basically going to educate people with regards to Islam and what it actually means.  It’s a story of 50 converts from 25 different nations, it should be a really good documentary. We are going to premiere it in Christchurch.”

The movie will premiere on April 27 in the Jack Mann Auditorium at the University of Canterbury.

He says his community are strong but still broken two weeks on from the shootings at Al Noor and Linwood mosques that killed 50 people.

"A piece of their heart will never be restored, but they’re strong. The one’s I have seen and connected with are strong and hopeful for the future. They see the positives in this, they see the blessing. When I see stories like that it gives me strength and it gives the people that I work with strength."