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Group representing Muslim community says March 15 terror attacks could have been prevented

A group representing the Muslim community says the March 15th terror attack could have been prevented if security agencies were properly monitoring right wing extremist activity.

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The Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand has made its submission to the Royal Commission into March 15 attack public, and says systemic change is needed. Source: 1 NEWS

The Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand (FIANZ) has made it's submission to the Royal Commission into the March 15 Attack public and says systemic change is needed.

On March 15th last year, Brenton Tarrant killed 51 people. It's claimed he and extremists like him weren't being monitored.

“They weren't looking, if you're not looking you will never find,” Abdur Razzaq, chairperson of FIANZ Royal Commission Submission, said.

The Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand gathered a group of young Muslims to research and compile their submission to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the terror attacks. 

The group says right wing extremism was not a priority for New Zealand’s National Intelligence Service until mid-2018, nine months before the terror attack.

“The New Zealand intelligence community lacks diversity, is institutionally islamophobic,” said FIANZ investigator, Haris Murtaza.

Their research also showed New Zealand intelligence heads have framed Muslims as terrorists while ignoring rising white extremist activity overseas.

It also found New Zealand Police failed to properly assess the terrorist before granting him a gun license, getting references from two online gaming acquaintances, instead of people close to him.

“Within five weeks off arriving he'd applied for a gun. there was a colossal mistake with the application form,” Razzaq said.

Police and the New Zealand Intelligence Committee refused to comment on the submission, saying it would be inappropriate until the full Royal Commission of Inquiry report is made public next month.

But the group doesn't want individuals held accountable.

“The whole Royal Commission we believe is about finding out what are the determinants that led to this and determinants are structural," Razzaq said.

The group have made a raft of recommendations include a ministry for ethnic communities, strengthening firearms licensing and the criminalisation of hate speech.