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Monday, May 27, 2024

Victims calls movie on Christchurch mass shootings ‘too soon’

Egyptian filmmaker Moez Masoud, has announced to produce a movie on the Christchurch, New Zealand mosque shootings that claimed the lives of 51 Muslim worshippers. The Cairo-based writer, director, songwriter, and motivational speaker announced the title of the film would be ‘Hello Brother'..

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“What has happened and is happening in New Zealand deserves history and human documentation,” Masoud wrote in his tweet.

He made the announcement on his Twitter account almost two days after the horrific incident. Now, the victims of Christchurch shootings are urging him to put on hold his production since they are still grieving. Masoud, elaborating the concept of the movie, stated it will be titled ‘Hello Brother’, since these were the words spoken to the shooter when he opened fire in the Al-Noor Mosque.

It will primarily focus on the family that fled from Afghanistan and settled in New Zealand. “[On March 15] the world witnessed an abominable crime against humanity, essentially predicated on ignorance of the ‘other’. All advocates of this atrocious hate crime, whether their motivations be political, religious or of any kind, are fundamentally complicit,” Masoud wrote.

Read more: Christchurch survivor tells remembrance service: ‘I choose peace’

“We must unanimously and unequivocally condemn all acts of terror and the ignorance and hatred that lead to them, and encourage a global conciliatory movement towards genuine mutual understanding and peace.”

In his interview to Variety, a leading media company, Masoud wanted the film to; “bring people all over the world together to discuss that day and continue a positive dialogue for a future based on genuine mutual understanding”.

“The story that Hello Brother will bring to audiences is just one step in the healing process so that we might all better understand each other, and the root causes of hatred, racism, supremacy, and terrorism,” he said

His idea garnered backlash from the Islamic and non-Islamic community in New Zealand, calling it a disgrace to the victims. Muslim Association of Canterbury president, Shagaf Khan, in their statement strongly opposed to the idea and said it is not the right time to make a film on it.

Read more: Thousands of Pakistanis form human chain in image of Christchurch mosque

“[It] will probably inflame the situation at this stage. Whatever the reality is in front of us, why do we need to repeat it again?” He added that he had turned down another proposal received from a Turkish filmmaker about two weeks after the incident. “One man visited the mosque yesterday [Tuesday] and said that they had vague ideas about shooting something but no proposal was made to us.

“We cannot stop such projects from going ahead if filmmakers choose to embark on them but the Muslim Association of Canterbury regards the dignity and privacy of our community and the dignity of those whose lives were taken as paramount. We have always sought to protect this dignity and will continue to do so.”

Kiwi director, Jason Lei Howden, condemned the idea of the movie and stated that New Zealand crews “refuse to work on it”. “Please can everyone in NZ boycott this? Stop these ghouls from capitalizing on murder and terror,” he wrote on Twitter. “We were all bombarded with the viral video, now we have to watch it reenacted? It’s shameful. It gives the killer what he wanted: fame and notoriety.”