Controversial speaker Lauren Southern ‘going to insult all of us’ says NZ Islamic community leader

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Source:

RNZ rnz.co.nz

Pressure is mounting on Immigration New Zealand to deny entry to a controversial Canadian pair set to give a talk in Auckland next month.

Canadian conservative and libertarian activist Lauren Southern.

Source: RNZ rnz.co.nz

Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux are best known for their far-right alternative views on everything from feminism, gender and immigration to Islam.

Earlier this year, Ms Southern was banned by from entering the UK on the grounds of her involvement "in the distribution of racist material in Luton", according to the BBC.

The Islamic community voiced their opposition to the visit last month.

New Zealand Federation of Islam Associations president Hazim Arafeh said it had written letters to the Immigration Minister, Minister for Ethnic Communities and the Human Rights Commission asking for Lauren Southern to be denied entry.

"[She] abuses her right of freedom of speech. She's just going to give a talk in which she's just going to insult all of us," Mr Arafeh said.

"I don't think insulting Muslims comes under free speech, that's an abuse of freedom of speech.

"I'm talking on behalf of 50,000 to 60,000 Muslims in New Zealand who are going to face a very hard time by all the comments she is going to make."

A petition with more than 1500 signatures has also been launched on change.org appealing to the Immigration Minister to deny Lauren Southern entry.

However, Ms Southern, who is a journalist, activist and film-maker, said she should be allowed in.

"As soon as there are people who want to shut down free speech and freedom to come and even visit your nation just because of a differing opinion you can tell you've got the bug of progressivism," Ms Southern said.

"The bug of this almost very totalitarian left-wing ideology which will not end well for you."

She said herself and Mr Molyneux would talk about a range of issues affecting New Zealand.

"Immigration, western culture, the preservation of western culture and largely the infectious liberal or far-left ideologies that are coming and working their way into our media and why they will lead to the economic, social and political fall of our nations."

Ms Southern said what she had to say was not hate speech.

"[Hate speech] is just a fancy word to describe speech that is unpopular during that day and age," she said.

"A few hundred years ago, I wouldn't be able to question the divine rule of whatever god is in my land, I wouldn't be allowed to be pro-gay or pro-mixed race marriages, today it's you're not allowed to be anti-mass migration, you're not allowed to question crazy LGBTQ politics."

Massey University far-right expert and pro vice chancellor Paul Spoonley said some of what the pair say was considered hate speech.

"Some of the things that Molyneux has said about apartheid being a white survival policy and not a racial supremacist policy and then attacking some of the people who say it is something else … some of the things they say are really quite direct and would be very hateful to a number of communities," Mr Spoonley said.

"They're part of a broad coalition of people who at their soft end would be pro-Trump but at the hard end - which I regard both of these being - very white supremacist or believe in the racial superiority of white people, they believe that immigration undermines countries.

"They're very anti-immigrant, anti-refugees and they're anti-feminist."

Mr Spoonley said there was an alt-right community within New Zealand but it was small.

He said banning people entry to New Zealand would need to meet a high threshold and the decision warranted a public discussion.

Mr Molyneux heads the organisation Freedomain Radio, an online group that was described as a cult.

Mr Molyneux and Immigration New Zealand have both been contacted for comment.

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