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Islamic Women's Council accuses police of 'othering', not taking threats against Muslims seriously before Christchurch attack

The Islamic Women's Council says police were so busy treating the Muslim community as a threat that they weren't considered under threat.

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Aliya Danzeisen discussed the council's submission to the Royal Commission, which talks about threats made before 51 people were gunned down last year. Source: Breakfast

The council yesterday publicly released it's submission to the Royal Commission, which accused police of ignoring threats made towards Muslims prior to last year's terrorist attack at two Christchurch mosques on March 15, in which 51 people died.

"Basically they invested in looking at us and not solving the problem and with that, we're going, 'How do we solve this long term? If there's a real issue, if there's a real threat to our community, then help us solve it,' and there was no interest in that whatsoever, there was no appetite to do that," Islamic Women's Council's Aliya Danzeisen told TVNZ1's Breakfast today.

"We kept going up higher, higher: 'Look, listen to us here are the threats inside New Zealand. If you want to protect New Zealand lets look at what's going on here.' And they were worried about what was happening 6000 miles away in the Middle East rather than what was occurring on our own doorsteps."

The council is now calling for an overhaul of the public services, which it says failed the community.

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In the wake of the Christchurch terror attack, community leaders released their submission to the royal commission in which they criticise police and politicians past and present. Source: 1 NEWS

"They were getting information from overseas not to trust the Muslim community, they were also getting information internally in the sense of 'oh, you know, they're new' and there was an othering -  'They're not like us.' There appeared to be that," Ms Danzeisen said.

"Yesterday, we pointed out the public service actually needs to serve the public instead of themselves and that's what was occurring.

"All of the public, if we are in New Zealand as part of this community, which we are and we're investing in it, then everybody should be part of New Zealand and part of the service that we're given."

Before the fatal shootings, she said there were several threats made specifically to the date of March 15 around her mosque in Hamilton.

"We let them [police] know what was out there - the hate, the challenges that our community was facing and what we were seeing and we were seeing, outright propaganda right here in New Zealand - and we said that it was based here and that they needed to look into it.

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Q+A reporter Whena Owen speaks to leaders from the Muslim community as they reflect on the events since the attack. Source: Q+A

"You look at where they were focusing and the questions that they would ask us, or basically they invested in looking at us and not investing in solving the problem.

"We put a whole year into getting this report to the commission and think New Zealand should read it so that it doesn't happen to anyone else."

It comes as this morning, the Ministry of Justice published its Social Wellbeing and Perceptions of the Criminal Justice System report, which draws results from the New Zealand Crime and Victims Survey 2019 released in May.

Sector Deputy Secretary Tim Hampton said, "the report reveals disparities among different groups of people, such as their feelings of safety and their experience of the criminal justice system in general".

"Māori (38 per cent), Chinese (39 per cent) and Pacific (39 per cent) adults are all less likely to feel that their values align with the criminal justice system than other adults."

Mr Hampton said the report highlighted areas of New Zealand's criminal justice system which could be improved, made safer or more effective.