Muslim community opposes release of the movie ‘They Are Us’ glorifying PM Jacinda Arden. Here’s why
Families of the 2019 Christchurch mosque shootings were still grieving the tragic incident when the news of a movie based on the incident started going viral. According to sources, a movie about the Government’s response to the Christchurch mosque attack is in the works and is being met with anger and disbelief.
Recap of What Happened
During Friday prayers, an Australian man shot up two mosques in Christchurch on the 15th of March 2019. The shooting took the lives of 51 people. The gunman, a white supremacist admitted to all the 51 murders, the attempted murder of another 40 people, and one charge of terrorism.
Details of the Film being made based on the Tragedy
According to reports, a movie titled ‘They Are Us‘ is being made based on the incident. The storyline of the film will focus on Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s response to the mosque shootings with a death toll of 51.
According to details, New Zealander Andrew Niccol will write and direct the movie. Talking about the movie, he said:
They Are Us is not so much about the attack but the response to it. An inspirational story about the young leader’s response to tragic events.
Inspiration is drawn from Jacinda Ardern’s words on the day of the incident – the 40-year-old leader was lauded internationally for calling out the attack by a white supremacist as terrorism. What really won everyone’s heart was her compassion towards the Muslim community and how she united her shocked country in a painful time.
New Zealand Muslims are opposing the release of the Film
In a statement, a spokesperson for the Muslim Association of Canterbury, Abdigani Ali shared what New Zealand Muslims feel and said:
While the community agrees that the PM deserves recognition, now is not the time. There are still many sensitivities around the tragic event. Although recognition of our prime minister for her response to attacks is well deserved, we question the timing and whether a movie is appropriate right now? The terrorist attack is still raw for our community.
Ali further stated:
There needs to be a lot of work done in New Zealand in terms of hate speech laws, recognizing Islamophobia’s existence in our society, and the institutional prejudice within our government apparatus before a blockbuster film comes out stating that we’ve done a great job here in New Zealand.
On the other hand, PM Ardern has completely distanced herself from the project. The PM’s office said:
Arden and her government have nothing to do with the movie. She had not been involved in anything to do with the movie and was not consulted on it.
In a statement, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern addressed the making of the movie and said:
While it’s for the community to speak for themselves, it’s my view that the 15th of March 2019 remains very raw for New Zealand. There are plenty of stories from that day that could be told, but I don’t consider mine to be one of them.
What ‘They Are Us’ Is Doing Wrong
Muslims are questioning the focus and the theme of the movie. Some called out the director for ‘whitewashing’ the story and making a profit from a tragic incident that is not theirs to tell. Other members of the Muslim community said that they were being used as “props” for Hollywood.
Mohamed Hassan, a journalist, and poet based in Auckland explained how this cannot be an ‘inspirational story’ and said:
This is not an inspiring story. It is a tragedy, one that must always be centered around the Muslim victims and their families. No one else.
Several New Zealanders are joining a public call for the shutdown of the movie about the Christchurch terror attack ‘They Are Us’. The hashtag #TheyAreUsShutDown has been trending on Twitter for the last few hours, as more and more people join the protest.
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