What we know about recorded incidents of Islamophobia in New Zealand?

The Human Rights Act in New Zealand does not protect religion or religious belief (or gender or sexuality) against hate speech, meaning that verbal attacks on Muslims (or any religion) is not defined as a violation of the act. The number of complaints, prosecutions and convictions relating to hate-motivated crime is not systematically recorded in New Zealand and police do not record hate crimes. So when mosques or synagogues are attacked and defiled, those attacks are filed as property damage. In the absence of robust data on hate crime, information about when and how this is occurring is available only in an ad hoc way from localised studies and media reports. In response to the March 15 terrorist attack, the Human Rights Commission compiled It Happened Here: Reports of race and religious hate crime 2004-2012 (pdf). This research report uses mainstream media reporting as the primary source material. This report reflects only a tiny fraction of actual racist and religiously motivated hate crimes. What cases are reported makes for grim reading indeed. What we do know is that in 2017 the Race Relations Commissioner said she
was “seeing and hearing every day from people in the community that are talking about the racial attacks on them,” and that “Women who wear a hijab talk all the time about being racially abused at bus stops and schools and in their communities… and what is sad about that is nobody comes to their defence.”

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