We oppose hate speech, not free speech - Islamic Association president

Morning Talk 20/07/2018

The group which represents New Zealand’s Muslim community says it's sad that two far-right activists have been granted visas to speak in New Zealand.

Right-wing speakers Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux will be allowed into the country for 10 days, Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway announced on Friday morning.

However he has distanced himself and the Government from their views, calling them "repugnant".

Ms Southern and Mr Molyneux planned to speak at the Auckland Council-owned Bruce Mason Centre, but Mayor Phil Goff announced they would not be able to use the theatre.

"Let me be very clear, the right to free speech does not mean the right to be provided with an [Auckland Council] platform for that speech," Mr Goff said in a tweet. 

The Free Speech Coalition quickly launched legal action against the controversial decision. The coalition argues that elected officials shouldn't be allowed to shut down views they don't like. 

But Hazim Arafeh from the New Zealand Federation of Islamic Associations told RadioLIVE that there are many vehicles for free speech in a modern society, and that they don’t need to come here to be heard.

“People can express their views and opinion over so many platforms,” he told RadioLIVE. 

He says his organisation opposes hate speech of all types.

“We are absolutely opposed, we are very, very sad that those people are going to be allowed to speak in New Zealand, not because we oppose freedom of speech, it’s because we oppose hate speech.”

Listen to the full interview with Hazim Arafeh above. 

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