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Islamic youth group asks Muslim association to reconsider working with They Are Us filmmakers

A national Islamic youth group is asking a Canterbury Muslim association to reconsider working with the producers of the controversial They Are Us film. 

Al Noor Mosque (file photo). Source: Getty

The film, announced on Friday, was widely criticised for focussing on Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern - set to be played by Australian actress Rose Byrne - rather than the victims of the attack.

On Friday, the Muslim Association of Canterbury (MAC) said they questioned the timing of the movie and whether it was appropriate. 

But, yesterday, MAC released a joint statement with a producer of the film saying they want to work together to both address concerns and have better consultation by those affected by the attacks.

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Canterbury Muslim community to work with They Are Us producers around concerns with film

The National Islamic Youth Association (NIYA) said MAC were being inconsistent. 

“We have carried out our own consultations with members of the victim community and they have made it clear that they want the They Are Us movie shut down. They will not engage in any consultation process either facilitated by MAC or any other organisation,” it said. 

“Accordingly, we cannot support MAC’s proposed consultations, and hope that MAC will reconsider their stance given that it does not reflect the views and consensus of the victim community who should be at the heart of everything pertaining to the March 15 terror attacks.”

NIYA said the film project was “irredeemable” and would cause the community “more trauma” because it “aims to profit and capitalise off a tragedy”. 

MAC spokesperson Abdigani Ali said yesterday it wanted to “work closely with the producers” to facilitate consultation between them and any victims and families affected by the terrorist attacks. 

"MAC acknowledges that the producers have contacted and spoken to both the imams of Al Noor and Linwood Mosque and some of the victims of [the] March 15th terrorist attack who came forward and shared their stories with film producers.

“However, we have come to an understanding that more consultation needs to be done with the victims,” Ali said.

They Are Us producer Ayman Jamal said he was "devastated by the pain and concerns" from New Zealanders, the Muslim community and those impacted by the horrific attacks when the film was announced last week.

"This was never our intention, and we believe we owe a clarification to those families who lost their loved ones, survivors and witnesses regarding the film, its purpose and intention."

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Guled Mire says They Are Us feeds into a "white saviour mentality" by focussing on Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern rather than the victims. Source: 1 NEWS

Meanwhile, community advocate Guled Mire said They Are Us fed into a "white saviour mentality" by focussing on Ardern rather than the victims.

Ardern said there were plenty of stories to tell from March 15, and that she didn't consider hers to be one of them. She said the film's producers hadn't consulted her about any of their plans.