NZ Muslim community angry alt-right speakers given Kiwi working visas

New Zealand's Muslim community is angry that two controversial alt-right speakers have been allowed to work in the country.

Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux were banned from speaking at Auckland Council's Bruce Mason Centre, but were yesterday granted working Visas by Immigration New Zealand.

The two Canadians are known for their Islamophobic views and the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand president, Hazim Arafeh, expressed his displeasure after the visa announcement.

"This type of speech makes all Muslims of the world very, very angry.

"There's a lot of tension in the community - there's a lot of profiling of Muslims and that's not conducive to the public good."

The two speakers are used to finding themselves at the centre of controversy.

Lauren Southern turned up to an event for survivors of sexual assault carrying a sign that said: "There is no rape culture in the West." She also wrote a book called Barbarians: How Baby Boomers, Immigrants and Islam Screwed my Generation.

Her speaking partner, Stefan Molyneux, subscribed to a conspiracy theory about a white genocide and claimed that violence was caused by how women treat children.

Such views prompted Auckland Council to ban them from speaking at its venues.

But Immigration Minister Ian Lees-Galloway said they were still entitled to work here.

"The grounds on which someone can be excluded from New Zealand involve things like being involved in a terrorist organisation, being convicted of a crime or have clearly been involved in inciting violence.

"None of those applied to those two people."

Event promoter David Pellowe said moves were underway to try and secure a private venue for the two speakers but it was proving difficult.

A group of prominent New Zealanders, including former National Party leader Don Brash, formed the Free Speech Coalition after the council issued its ban.

The group yesterday filed papers in the High Court to try and get the ban overturned, and member Stephen Franks welcomed the latest decision to grant visas.

"The minister said it exactly right: You might not like something but you still defend their right to come here and say it."

The two provocateurs are currently in Australia, a trip that has not been without controversy.

Ms Southern, who arrived at an event wearing a T-shirt that read, "It's okay to be white," was billed $68,000 by Victoria Police for the extra officers that had to be deployed due for her safety.

Organisers of the New Zealand leg of the tour hope to bring the speakers across the Tasman around August 3. 

Canadian conservative and libertarian activist Lauren Southern. Source: rnz.co.nz


Topics



Q+A Business Podcast: What to do when your competitor gets into trouble

In this week’s Q+A Business Podcast Corin Dann speaks to marketing expert and Victoria University Associate Professor of Marketing Dan Laufer – about crisis management and how firms should respond when a competitor in their industry also gets into trouble.

Corin Dann speaks to marketing expert and Victoria University Associate Professor of Marketing Dan Laufer about crisis management. Source: Q+A

TODAY'S
FEATURED STORIES

Changes made to Christchurch Men's Prison's intervention support unit after damning report - 'so far out of touch'

Major change is underway in our prisons as corrections overhauls the way it handles the most volatile inmates.

Christchurch Men's Prison's highly-critcised intervention support unit holds inmates with high mental health needs, where pat-down body searches are mandatory.

Christchurch Men's Prison’s chief custodial officer, Neil Beales, says "some of these men are very, very dangerous".

"They will physically damage themselves to the point where they need hospital treatment, opening old wounds, [and] putting things inside those wounds, (things) you and I wouldn't dream of doing," Mr Beales said.

Other inmates are deemed a high suicide risk, and they are constantly watched.

"We want to make them better for when they're released so it needs to be a more therapeutic approach."

The unit was criticised as unacceptable for distressed prisoners, with the ombudsman's report released last year describing a high level of violence, and claims the facilities were anti-therapeutic.

The prison's principal corrections officer, Robert Risdon, says the "areas have changed a lot" following the release of the damning report.

"We didn't have TVs, we didn't have chalk boards - we didn't have any of the sensory equipment we now have," Mr Risdon said.

Some of the inmates' cells breached the Nelson Mandela rules, with no natural light and, at the time of inspection, no fresh air circulating in the cells as black polythene was used to seal off the vent.

"That was a result of prisoners throwing urine and stuff through that grill at the top on staff but we've since taken all that down."

Also included in the changes is more normal mealtimes and inmates are now being taken out for exercise.

"It was a little bit of a shock to think we were so far out of touch with what other people were doing."

The ombudsman’s report made 54 recommendations for Christchurch Men's Prison, 44 of which were accepted by prison management.

However, a review team has yet to visit the prison for a follow-up and the date has yet to be decided.

Twenty-five million dollars is now being invested in mental health provisions in prisons across the country.

The unit was slammed in an ombudsman’s report as being unacceptable for distressed prisoners. Source: 1 NEWS