Heather Hastie on the New Zealand massacre

April 2, 2019 • 9:00 am

Posting will be almost nonexistent from me for the next two days, as today’s a working day (I give a science seminar) and then I go to Ghent tomorrow for sightseeing and visiting friends.

I’ve said a few words about the massacre of 50 Muslim New Zealanders at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, expressing my outrage about the murder, sympathy for the victims, approbation for the NZ government’s cracking down on private ownership of weapons, and recounting the ridiculous incident in which an NYU student accosted Chelsea Clinton, blaming her for creating a climate of “Islamophobia” that caused the massacre.

Beyond that I have little to say that hasn’t been said by others. But I looked forward to my friend Heather Hastie’s take on the situation, as she’s a Kiwi and would have her own unique take. She’s just published her post on the issue on her site Heather’s Homilies:The Christchurch Massacre“. I’ll let you read her views, but will note that she takes issue, on free-speech grounds, with Prime Minister Jacinda Arden’s request that the killer’s “manifesto” not be published. I agree with Heather here, for exposing hatred is the best way to disinfect it, and I see the advantages of that outweighing the small possibility that others could read it and commit copycat crimes.

Like me, Heather is proud of the Prime Minister’s attempt to unify the country and to express support for the Muslim community. But wearing the hijab, as both Ardern and some women news anchors did to express solidarity, is in Heather’s view (and mine) view a bit extreme. As Heather says,

Prime Minister Ardern wore a hijab on all occasions she went to a mosque. It is no surprise to me that she did that. It fits perfectly with her character. There’s a strong tendency towards being Woke there.

Personally, it’s not something I would have done. I’ve written several posts relating to my opposition to the hijab, including by Muslim women:

World Hijab Day
Islam and Women’s Clothing
Egypt 1958: Mockery of the Idea of Compulsory Hijab

For me, the hijab is a sign of the subjugation of women. It is supposedly a part of a woman guarding her modesty, but quite apart from anything else, who decides what’s modest?  It implies men are incapable of stopping themselves from making unwelcome sexual advances towards a woman unless she covers herself. Further, it makes it her responsibility if a man makes unwelcome sexual advances towards her.

It’s a sign that women are second-class citizens in Islam. To me, it’s also just as insulting to men as to women; what kind of man is so incapable of controlling himself that women need to hide their bodies from him?

I understand the wish to express support the Muslim community. It’s a feeling I share deeply. But surely simply making the effort to attend one or more of the many services does that? Wearing a symbol of the suppression of women is a step too far in my opinion.

Finally, Heather approves of the upcoming changes (and there will be changes) in NZ’s gun laws. I share this sentiment, too. But go over to her site and read the take of a thoughtful Kiwi, one who doesn’t like the misogynistic tenets of Islam but has a deep compassion for the Muslim community.


103 thoughts on “Heather Hastie on the New Zealand massacre

  1. Good work, Heather. This “hijab is good” thing is getting out of hand. Many US television programs now have a heroic muslim woman wearing a hijab as a requisite character. Wearing a hijab while chasing down bad guys in a firefight is a stretch.

    1. I’m still puzzled how the context of “a well regulated militia” of the second amendment has completely been swept under the table.
      To an outsider it appears a prime example of cherry-picking.

          1. Something like the National Guard, the army or even the police? Although the latter does not always appears to be ‘well regulated’ in the US.

            1. Thanks. Suppose we interpret ‘a well regulated militia’ to be ‘National Guard, the army or even the police’, then how should we interpret ‘people’ in ‘the right of the people to keep and bear arms’? The word people implies a broader scope. Was the idea that a militia would be easier to set up in a time of war if the general populace was armed?

              1. The militia preceded any idea of national guard and were simply civilians who were called to action on short notice. There was no army or even official national guard in early Colonial times. Of course for a militia to be of any use, they had to have weapons, otherwise what are they to do, throw rocks? No one provided them with guns and powder and balls and flint.

                Even the national guard now for many years is sent off for training and then return to their civilian jobs and home. This includes basic training just like regular army. They are also provided weapons but do not take them home.

                What the people in those days did not want was a standing army. That scared shit out of them, reminded them of the British. So a bill of rights that said, exactly what the 2nd amendment said, made them feel good. Oh yeah, a militia, that is what we want.

              2. Wouldn’t be the army, since the Constitution didn’t provide for a standing army and many of the founding fathers were specifically against it.

                Earlier in the 20th century there was apparently a lot of debate about whether ‘the people’ meant society in general or actual individuals.

                The amendment definitely isn’t about home defense or periodically watering the tree of freedom with blood.

              3. Well, I’d say the National Guard et al. are part of ‘the people’.
                Any Tom, Dick and Harry does not constitute a well regulated militia, IMMO, and should therefore not be allowed the possession of firearms without further question.
                And yes, there should be some standard as what constitutes a ‘well regulated militia’, but the SCOTUS did -unjustifiably- not ask for that.

      1. Regulated is one of those words that means something a little different in the late 18th century than it means now.

        Then it was more about accuracy and precision than the current meaning of “controlled by myriad regulations”.

        I think perhaps had they replaced “regulated” with “practiced”, it would better hold to original meaning.

        1. ‘What the people in those days did not want was a standing army’

          It seems that circumstances have changed significantly since then. Do people think that ‘A well regulated militia being necessary for the security of the state’ still applies?

          Even if it does not, I can think of other reasons why people would want to own guns, although such reasons would not have anything to do with the constitution.

          It seems that the vast majority of legal gun owners in the US are peaceful people.

          1. “It seems that the vast majority of legal gun owners in the US are peaceful people.”

            Which applies to NZ as well. Although I predict that very soon many of those still peaceful people will be illegal gun owners.

            But there are vast differences between the US and NZ. One thing that makes gun regulation easier is the fact that NZ is a fairly safe place, with a law abiding population. I assume defensive gun use is fairly rare, as is gun crime. The massacre there was not part of a trend, so it will be hard to prove that the confiscations have made anyone safer.

            But as for the militia question, Jefferson opined that an advantage the rustics had against the British was “ascribed to our superiority in taking aim when we fire; every soldier in our army having been intimate with his gun from his infancy.”
            I suppose history will show whether a population with such skills will prove to be an advantage in some future conflict.

            Of course, I have mentioned before that I live in an area with very high access to firearms, but essentially no gun violence. What we also lack is any sort of law enforcement presence. It is generally believed that our being an armed community has a deterrent effect on anyone considering attempting poaching, robbery, or home invasion here.
            What crime there has been recently has been committed by people from a more populated nearby state, who have either robbed unoccupied ranches or more worryingly, invaded homes with elderly occupants. In one case, the occupants were abused by the invaders until they were satisfied that any hidden valuables had been revealed. In another case, the sight of an elderly woman aiming a large gun caused the robbers to flee.
            But like NZ, disarming us would not likely lower the negligible violent crime that we commit. It could make us more tempting prey to the cartel-connected gangs in NM that would not be disarmed by such laws.
            Everyone here has taken the lessons of the Klutter family to heart. People who live in isolated areas, and who are perceived to be wealthy, are wise to exercise caution. Probably not something needed in places like NZ or Japan, gun restrictions or not.
            I believe that the few hundred vigilant and practiced residents of my generation in our community do qualify as a militia, in the Jeffersonian sense. Most people have some sort of firearm, and are generally aware of who is out of town, and try to notice when something is amiss.

              1. It is the west, of course. It is less wild than it used to be.
                Being armed does not necessarily translate into displaying a firearm. Certainly not brandishing it. You can just generally assume that everyone out here has some sort of weapon in their truck somewhere, or in their pack if they are riding.
                It is just sensible. You don’t expect to have to use it. But if something bad happens in an isolated area like this, you cannot expect anyone to arrive and help in a timely manner.

                I would say that the biggest risk I face when I am out in the mountains is wild animals that become aggressive due to rabies or some other factor. Last year was a tough one because it was unusually dry, and the critters that normally stay way up there moved down to the more populated valleys. We had a bear raising three cubs in a thicket about three hundred yards from the main house. So vigilance.
                This year we had a lot more snow, so it will be less like Noah’s Ark near the house.

                Most people in the world live in places where there are risks to look out for. If I lived in San Francisco, I would certainly worry about leaving anything important in my car.

              2. Max, “You can just generally assume that everyone out here has some sort of weapon in their truck somewhere, or in their pack if they are riding. It is just sensible.”
                Yes, so sensible that as a consequence the US has the highest number of gun deaths by far (about triple it’s nearest competitors) of of all developed countries. Sensible indeed.

      2. This is why I have issues with having this sort of permanent constitution. There’s no doubt there are good things about it (I love the First Amendment and wish we had something similar), but there are bad things too.

        Firstly, things change. Being a “strict constitutionalist” is to me a bit like following religious texts written centuries or millennia ago today.

        The second is that language changes, evolves, and grows. Imagine how modern interpretation would go if the constitution was written in the English of Shakespeare, Chaucer, or even Beowulf. Anecdotally at least, Shakespeare invented the word “bubble”. Now try describing a bubble without using that word. It’s not easy. The Roman Christians weren’t involved in the development of the Nicene Creed because Latin wasn’t considered a nuanced enough language to discuss the issues. Greek was de rigueur.

        NZ doesn’t have a formal document that is the constitution, though we do have constitutional law of course. That’s a problem in that any government can change it with a simple majority. But at least there was no 2nd Amendment getting in the way of reforming our gun laws following the Christchurch Massacre.

        1. Now that I do agree with.

          It also seems to me that the writers of the Constitution foresaw the need for amendments from time to time (I assume they did?). They couldn’t foresee that it would be gradually turned into sacred infallible immutable text by a sort of quasi-religious patriotic fundamentalism.

          (In my more irreverent moments I would call it the Constipation and suggest it needs a good dose of laxative)


  2. Wonderfully put – I just finished Douglas Murray’s “The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam.” This book gave me a new perspective on the dynamic between Islam and the West. There are millions of immigrants in Europe that do not believe in Western Enlightenment values. What the shooter did was desecrate Western values. Any religious group should be able to worship without fear of persecution. Western values mandate that we protect law-abiding, peaceful members of any faith from prejudice and violence. Tolerance and human rights are the offspring of Western values. The difficulty comes when we must choose between tolerating intolerance and defending the values and rights that make our society free. With respect to the gun legislation, leftists condemn demagoguery all the time, but when NZ’s prime minister uses it to ban guns, they love it.

    1. “… leftists condemn demagoguery all the time, but when NZ’s prime minister uses it to ban guns, they love it.”

      The proposed NZ legislation doesn’t ban all guns, only semi-automatics, including the type used in the Christchurch massacre.

      Would you consider calls for a new storm drain system after a catastrophic flood “demagoguery,” too?

  3. Wearing a symbol of the suppression of women is a step too far in my opinion.

    I’m in agreement that the hijab, in general, is a tool of suppression, but I’m torn about whether it is appropriate to don for religious services. If a woman were attending a service at an eastern orthodox church, and covered her hair (as is traditional), would we be so concerned? I don’t know, but I appreciate Heather’s post. When cultural sensitivity becomes something else, we need to talk about it.

    1. Any religion that puts restrictions on someone’s appearance for service or for daily wear is silly.

      We are talking about the creator of the known universe: all the baryonic matter, all leptons and photons, all constituents of the cosmological constant, including dark matter and dark energy. This ‘Thing’ cares about a head dress? Anyone not affiliated with these religions should think these prescriptions are delusional, at best, and pernicious, by default.

    2. This is why I do not like attending religious services even to show solidarity. (For example, the baptisms of my nephews what were and are important to my sister.) IMO, forcing the hypocrisy or “playing along” of an unbeliever or outsider is itself insulting to the faithful. I felt this way when (as a male) I was handed a kippa at a Conservative Jewish wedding. I’m not a _bar mitzvah’d_ anything; I don’t think I have the right to claim this. On the other hand, to refuse might have been worse …

      However, I am not a politician. In that context, I think one should find a way to discreetly ask community leaders (the imam, in this case) what rules apply to visitors and follow along *if* that’s what was asked. Sometimes outsiders are allowed to attend but not “play along”.

    3. I’m with you. I think it’s a dumb thing, especially for women who do it voluntarily.

      But, I have no issue with a woman (or man) dressing modestly. Many people stay pretty covered up. If women truly do it on their own (this is a problem in itself), I think it’s their business.

      And, if I attend a religious meeting, I do play along. I think nothing of value comes from causing offense in these cases.

      All that said, I tend to avoid anything involving religious ceremony. Funerals are the big exception. And I’ve attended far too many of those in the last couple of years (and missed a bunch as well).

    4. If they’re currently *in a Church, that’s one thing, but I might actually be vaguely miffed if I saw someone donning Orthodox-wear out of “solidarity”. (Think of this applied to wearing a cross, for example.) Everything in a church is there for a specific reason and none of them are as fashion statements, they represent beliefs. I’m not actually clear on why Muslims would want nonbelievers in their religion wearing a hijab. Maybe there’s a cultural difference there but I would find it strange and borderline disrespectful if people wore yarmulke to support the Jewish community.

      1. I’ve only been to one Jewish funeral, but I was handed a yarmulke at the door – the usher was going about with a box of them and handing them to all of the men who showed up without one. Didn’t ask about the appropriateness of me, a gentile, wearing it, but I wasn’t the only gentile there – all were wearing them – so it seemed that it was something that was required of men in general.

        1. Again, I would differentiate wearing one *at a religious service vs. on the street.

          I’m no fan of outrage culture so not trying to make a ‘thing’ of it, I’m just saying, I don’t really understand the rationale. If someone wore a cross or dressed in priest vestments to support me, I would appreciate the intention but wouldn’t actively encourage it, as I would privately be thinking it wasn’t particularly appropriate. So if it makes people happy that’s fine, I just don’t get it.

        2. If I was in that position I’d be strongly tempted to say “I’m sorry, I’m in the wrong place, the invitation didn’t say anything about fancy dress” and walk away. I would probably suppress that impulse and play along, since I presumably had thought enough of the dead to bother to turn up in the first place, while thoroughly annoyed with myself and the synagogue for putting me in that position.

          I did go to a Catholic wedding and I was somewhat apprehensive about the wafer thing but they handled it very considerately – ‘those who wish to receive the sacraments please make your way to the front, one by one’ – so ‘refusing’ was as simple as staying put and it wasn’t even obvious who was not going up.


    5. I’d say the head of state is obliged to follow the customs when attending a religious ceremony — and the head of state is obliged to attend religious ceremonies in situations like these.

      As for the rest of the hijabomania, it was highly misguided. (I notice that so far, no kafir have chosen the ultimate display of solidarity with moslem women — to themselves undergo FGM.)

  4. Read Heather’s post this morning, and I was so glad to see that she thinks the wearing of the hijab is a step too far. How does it help, after such a horrendous massacre, for non-muslim women to wear apparel that signifies the subjugation of women? We can be sympathetic without losing our reason.

    1. I agree. The only justification I can think of for wearing it in this circumstance is as an “I’m Spartacus” gesture — which to be fair is quite a powerful one.

      1. There are two contexts, too, now that I think about it (though see above): there are demonstrations and general, broader, community-as-a-whole things where I think not doing this (or any other outsider stuff) makes sense. But there is also actually showing solidarity in attending a religious ceremony itself. This is where I think sometimes even outsiders should “dress the part” – but also not attend if dressing the part is not thought by *either side* as being appropriate. I have done it myself, and it bothers me still.

  5. Well said as usual, Heather. Thanks for this and thanks for always being a valuable contributor to the comments section.

  6. Well said Heather. Remarkably consistent with my view of hijabs and their value to women and society. They are symbols of oppression and imply unavoidable weakness for both men and women.

  7. The problem is that those women that wear the hijab follow a man -Muhammad- that probably committed and surely ordered to commit massacres and atrocities even more despicable than the one in NZ -including killing, enslaving, and raping. It’s good to show compassion when a lunatic kills people, but to show respect for what another lunatic may have commanded (to wear the hijab) is just wrong.

  8. “Prime Minister Ardern wore a hijab on all occasions she went to a mosque.”

    I have entered many mosques in the middle east, and the custom is that women cannot enter with uncovered heads, so headscarves are lent at the entrance. The same goes for men in shorts (wraps are supplied). I don’t approve of either restriction but institutions have the right to implement a dress code. So perhaps the PM was simply taking the path of least resistance by wearing the hijab. It might have caused a negative stir among the Muslim community if she’d entered the mosque uncovered, and now is not the right time for that.

    1. She also wore one at outdoor services.

      I think there are occasions where it’s probably appropriate to suck it up, such as at a funeral. I don’t condemn Jacinda Ardern for wearing a hijab in a mosque.

      It’s all the other places people (including her) were wearing them that I have a problem with. Most of the memorial services were in parks, so there was no need to conform to a mosque’s dress code. Men wore shorts to the outdoor services and no one complained.

      1. Hello Heather, and thank you for your response. You’re absolutely right about the needlessness of wearing the hijab outside the mosque and in public places. Sadly that garment is becoming symbolic of Islam itself—and that is an injustice to Muslims (or cultural/non-believing Muslims) who don’t wear it and even dislike it. I’ll give the PM a benefit of a doubt and say perhaps she thought she was expressing support for the Muslim community, albeit in a wrongheaded way. I guess an Anglo-Saxon New Zealander wearing a hijab is the sort of cultural appropriation that gets applause!

      2. Yes, it’s the double standard that bothers me most. I took a funicular at a park in Malaysia once that I shared with a group from Saudi Arabia. Despite the heat and humidity, the women were covered head to toe in black cloth, while the men were wearing singlets and shorts that were sagging off their hips.

        1. One one of my posts about women’s dress in Islam there’s a photo of a beach in the Middle East. The men are wearing their budgie smugglers, while the women are paddling in full head to toe dress. There are stories of young girls (only 5 – obviously pre-pubescent) drowning because of being required to swim in the full garb.

  9. What I find insulting about the hijab (or any of the other forms of covering daily-attire) is that is effectively saying to those who don’t dress similarly that they are immodest.

  10. Excellent post by Heather!
    I disapprove the crisis response in New Zealand. The hijab affair, to me, was absurd, but I consider it more or less a personal choice of the women involved. They can go full Islam if they want, and it will still be a personal choice. However, I find outrageous the censoring of the murderer’s manifesto (including a threat of long jail terms). Most unfortunate was that the ban came immediately after the ban on semi-automatic weapons. Now, just try to argue with the US gun lovers who insist that if they surrender their precious guns, all freedoms will disappear the next morning!

  11. Before I’d read it all, that document became illegal to download, or have copies of, in New Zealand.

    Wow. That’s what a fascist government would do.

    U! S! A!

  12. I commented in greater length at Heather’s excellent post, but let me say quickly here: if you can do so without risking hard time, carefully read the manifesto.

    It actually would be less concerning were Tarrant just another babbling lunatic, but he’s not. That is more dangerous, and it’s important we understand how he got to this point, else we will be surprised again.

      1. I agree, it was just a gesture supporting the grieving. The censoring was unfortunate but perhaps because you cannot put an AO rating on it for the net, as in, guidance for youngér readers it became a heavy handed reaction of faulty thinking. The gun community definitely feel that with the laws being put in place, gun lovers being beaten with a ‘club’ sort of speak.

      2. The Chief Censor complains that, with its “specific cues and references…, frequent use of obvious irony, internet-speak … and use of memes” TGR “is specifically targeted at people who are already susceptible to its messages…. Most people won’t be influenced by its ideology…. Some may be.” This is no different from the argument used by Soviet Bloc countries to ban authors like Orwell and Solzhenitsyn: they might confuse the simple-minded. Once you’ve resorted to that argument, there really is no boundary to its potential application.

        Another complaint, that TGR “misrepresent[s] these actions as part of a grand historical struggle” confused me at first. Were not other odious events, like the Long March, the Nazi party’s rise, The Spanish missions in the new world, admittedly parts of ‘grand historical struggles’? Then I realized the Chief Censor is trying to wish away any staying power to Tarrant’s worldview by denying its staying power. Of course, the best way to breathe life into a fringe belief is to drive it underground.

        TGR was also banned in part for “[d]ehumanising and demonising non-white New Zealanders as ‘invaders.'” How soon will calling immigrants ‘invaders’ also become a ‘dog whistle’ and criminal offense in NZ? How long before any complaint that one’s speech is ‘dehumanizing’ or ‘demonizing’ will result in official censure? The slope is a slippery one, and New Zealand has crossed the crest line.

  13. I disagree with Heather on both counts.

    I think the hijab is stupid, but a memorial service at a mosque is not the place to make that point. If Ms Ardern chooses to wear one as a mark of respect I think it’s nit-picking to question it.

    What people choose to wear in mosques is surely the privilege of a mosque. And the same for synagogues and any other venue.

    If I visited a nudist beach I wouldn’t insist on wearing clothes – I’d either strip off or (more likely) I just wouldn’t go in the first place. Same for a mosque or a synagogue – and I wouldn’t willingly visit either but I can see where current circumstances oblige visitors.

    As for the killer’s name and ‘manifesto’ not being publicised, I fully support that. The murdering scum *wanted* the maximum publicity. We should deny him that. It’s not censorship, anyone who really wants / needs to know can find it. But the news media, who normally delight in publicising every sensational detail, can surely refrain from giving this thug his fifteen minutes of fame. I totally disagree that ‘free speech’ *requires* the active dissemination of offensive opinions. I’m not going to append the Protocols of the Elders of Zion to my comment to make the point, but consider it appended. 😉


    1. The press choosing not to publish something is a matter of judgment, taste, and decorum; the government prohibiting the press from publishing anything is a fundamental breach of free expression.

        1. Heather was not just talking about Ardern wearing the hijab to the mosque. She was talking about all the other women who chose to wear it in solidarity, who were not doing it because they were going to a mosque:

          “Thousands of women in the public eye have been wearing a hijab (scarf covering the hair) in support of the Muslim community. The female anchor of the New Zealand news channel I watch (1News) did not wear a hijab in the studio. However, I’ve seen pictures of women I don’t recognize, but whom I assume are the anchors of ThreeNow and Prime News, sporting the hijab. Most of the (female) on-location reporters I saw wore the hijab.”

          1. There is a lot of “look-at-me-I’m-woke” hijab wearing going on. But given NZ’s tragedy and trauma, I am willing to believe the women wearing hijabs in support of the NZ muslim community are making a sincere attempt at healing this grievous wound.

            1. As wrnog as it may be, for the most part, I think their intentions are good. I was thinking that if Ardern was to abjure and was asked about it by the media, she would help to educate many. But, it’s a political calculation that has to be balanced against perceptions of insensitivity.

      1. Everyone has censorship, including the US (I believe e.g. kiddie porn is illegal there?)

        The manifesto was ruled objectionable by the Chief Censor (not the Government directly). The press aren’t prohibited from publishing *anything* i.e. all details – see my comment below.


        1. “Kiddie porn” is unlawful in the United States if, but only if, the making of it involved the actual unlawful sexual exploitation of minors. It is not unlawful in literary or animated form or in simulated depictions or where adult actors who merely look underage are used, repugnant though those things may be.

          The basis for making it illegal is to prevent the unlawful sexual exploitation of children, not to control what adults may view (or out of concern for whatever adverse effect such viewing material have have on adults who see it).

          1. Well that surprises me.

            But – in regard to censorship as a whole – I’m sure that movies/TV are classified by someone. I know (i.e. I’ve often read) that producers often self-censor in order to get a lower classification. So what agency does that?


            1. The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) maintains a system whereby filmmakers can voluntarily submit their movies to receive ratings based on the nature of their content. Filmmakers in the US are under no compulsion to do so, and the ratings do NOT carry any force of law, although some theaters decline to show films that have the highest rating for mature content (known as “NC-17”) based on their own commercial concerns.

              1. I believe it’s one of those ‘voluntary’ things that ‘the studio’ usually makes compulsory for directors/producers. A constant complaint of producers is interference by the ‘money men’.

                But I think Darelle summed it up best:
                “I also don’t think that censoring must be a binary choice, all or nothing. Arguments of the sort that even the US censors some things aren’t convincing. Details, limits, degrees and reasons matter to the argument.”


              1. Well, that’s our Chief Censor’s main job.

                He can also, in theory, classify printed material, but it’s a little hard to imagine anything printed that he’s likely to ban today, other than this ‘manifesto’.

                For why this was regarded as a special case, see here:

                Umm, I just found there are 1319 books banned in NZ. Many of these were banned years ago; they remain banned unless the censor’s office reclassifies them, which it generally only does on request.

                Probably many of them would be un-banned today if anyone bothered to request.

                Apparently, they generally only consider a book for banning if they receive a complaint about it; the most recent one considered (but they didn’t ban it) was ‘To Train Up a Child’ written by fundamentalist Christians Michael and Debi Pearl, you may remember a California couple who followed its instructions were convicted of murdering their seven-year-old adopted daughter.


    2. The manifesto was ruled ‘objectionable’ by the Chief Censor (not the Government) – see here:

      I will quote it in part:
      ‘The Chief Censor has classified the Christchurch gunman’s “crude booklet” as objectionable.

      That means it’s now an offence to possess or distribute it.’

      ‘Media would not be stopped from quoting the document, but “ethical considerations” should be taken into account.

      “We also appreciate that there will be a range of people, including reporters, researchers and academics, who will be in possession of the publication for a range of legitimate purposes, including education, analysis and in-depth reporting. Those individuals can apply for exemptions, so they can legitimately access and hold a copy.”‘

      That seems to me to be a fairly measured approach between outright banning on one side, and being powerless to stop Nazis waving it in front of mosques on the other.

      Besides, I notice that censorship applies on this website, actively policed by the website owner. What does that tell you?


      1. I don’t understand the “not the government” qualification. According to a couple of sources I checked the Chief Censor of New Zealand is the “Chief Executive Officer and Chairperson of the Office of Film and Literature Classification,” which is a government agency. So yes, it is the government that is doing the censoring, directly. This censoring really does seem bizarre to me. And a bit contrived, as in a bit beyond the permit suggested by “Film and Literature.”

        I don’t think Jerry censoring comments on his website and the government of a nation censoring various types of speech is at all the same. A private individual placing limits on speech in their personal space, in their home as it were, with no more penalty than being shown the door is not at all comparable to a government placing universal limits throughout its society with monetary and prison time penalties enforced by the power of the state.

        I also don’t think that censoring must be a binary choice, all or nothing. Arguments of the sort that even the US censors some things aren’t convincing. Details, limits, degrees and reasons matter to the argument.

          1. That’s the reason many of the Founders of the United States were opposed to this nation maintaining a standing army.

            To a hammer, everything begins to look like a nail.

            1. While I agree with your last point, generally our censorship is, I think, pretty restrained.

              The Chief Censor’s main job is to classify movies into age groups – exactly the same function as you have in the US, I believe.


        1. @ darrelle:

          It’s an appointed civil servant doing the censoring, not the Government politicians. This may or may not be a significant difference depending on circumstances.

          You said –
          ‘This censoring really does seem bizarre to me. And a bit contrived, as in a bit beyond the permit suggested by “Film and Literature.”’

          Well it struck me that way initially too, though I guess a ‘manifesto’ is certainly literature of a sort.

          The Chief Censor did justify his decision in the link I gave. Note that ‘hate speech’ is not specifically banned here, but (in the censor’s view) the ‘manifesto’ went beyond that to inciting actual violence.


          “It promotes, encourages and justifies acts of murder and terrorist violence against identified groups of people,” David Shanks said on Saturday, in justifying the ban.

          “It identifies specific places for potential attack in New Zealand, and refers to the means by which other types of attack may be carried out. It contains justifications for acts of tremendous cruelty, such as the deliberate killing of children.”


          “There is an important distinction to be made between ‘hate speech’, which may be rejected by many right-thinking people but which is legal to express, and this type of publication, which is deliberately constructed to inspire further murder and terrorism. It crosses the line.”


        2. Oh, and I do agree that:

          “I also don’t think that censoring must be a binary choice, all or nothing.”

          But I think you just contradicted yourself with:

          “Arguments of the sort that even the US censors some things aren’t convincing. Details, limits, degrees and reasons matter to the argument.”

          The whole point is that the US *does* censor things. Everybody does. The frequently-implied idea that ‘No censorship good, censorship bad’ is utterly misleading.

          I agree entirely that circumstances, details and degrees matter. Our Chief Censor gave his reasons, which one may debate, but – IMO – just saying “Oh, it’s censorship. Must be Bad!” is just wrong.


      2. Having read the whole tedious thing, (and luckily living in a place where I can do so without worrying that my door is going to be kicked in by the authorities for doing so)
        I wonder if part of this is to control the direction of the discussion of how to assign blame.
        An Eco-fascist, which is how he described himself, is not really in the normal spectrum of right-wing ideology.
        And his manifesto did not really present a coherent and consistent message. The unibomber’s writings presented a view that I disagree with, but you can read it and see pretty clearly what the guy’s message and motivations were.
        I certainly don’t think that the shooter’s manifesto is the sort of persuasive document that is likely to bring others to into his ideology. That would seem to be the primary reason to justify censoring it.

        The other reason that might make sense is simply to control the dialog about the event. But I don’t know enough about the state of NZ politics to know if the reactions are sincere, or just a cynical effort use the tragedy to push controls on the citizens that they have been planning to implement all along.

        1. Your door is unlikely to be ‘kicked in’ by any authorities in NZ for possession of censored documents.

          (I say ‘unlikely’ rather than impossible because there are, admittedly, a few NZ police who seem to watch too many American cop shows. I think they’re in a minority, fortunately).

          It’s more likely to be kicked in if you possess illegal arms, or if they suspect you’re plotting a terrorist attack.

          In the past there have been sporadic efforts to tighten up on arms legislation. But there was nothing in the wind recently until this massacre. It wasn’t high on anybody’s wish list. It would not have been politically possible without across-the-board agreement. So no, nobody was ‘planning to implement controls all along’.


          1. I mean, arms legislation wasn’t high on anybody’s wish list, and wouldn’t have been politically possible without wide agreement. (Not the massacre).

            Sorry for being confusing there.


  14. Thanks everybody for your comments. I appreciate them very much.

    And especially thanks to Jerry for highlighting my post. It got a lot more views than it would have otherwise!

  15. “There’s a strong tendency towards being Woke there.”
    I’m not sure how to interpret that as anything other than a bit of snark trying to paint the PM’s motivations as insincere. Falls into the same category as ‘virtue signalling’ or ‘SJW.’

    “For me, the hijab is a sign of the subjugation of women.”
    I wish you’d brought up those first two words a bit more often. I know for a fact that there are plenty of Muslim women who make a conscious choice to wear the hijab and don’t see it that way. Of course nobody should be forced to wear it, but to insist that it’s only a symbol of suppression and by implication that no woman could possibly choose to wear it of her own free will is in my opinion pretty patronizing.

    1. “. . . but to insist that it’s only a symbol of suppression and by implication that no woman could possibly choose to wear it of her own free will is in my opinion pretty patronizing.”

      She didn’t insist on any such thing. You just made that up. So that you could signal your virtue. Getting right down to the bottom of it, you are lying about what she said in order to further your own purposes.

      “Of course nobody should be forced to wear it . . .”

      It’s nice that you at least agree with that. After all this is not a minor problem. It is significant. For many Muslim women wearing the hijab, or niqab or burka, is compulsory, enforced by government and or their society. We aren’t talking a few. We are talking about a significant percentage of Muslim women. What I find unconscionable is that you seem to believe and act as if some Muslim women being offended because they happen to freely choose to wear these coverings is even remotely of concern compared to the very real and much larger issue of these coverings being a mechanism in the subjugation of huge numbers of Muslim women. Many Muslim women are anti hijab, niqab and burka, and those that stand up to say so risk much when they do. I’ll stand with them.

      If I am left with the false dichotomy you choose to create out of statements like Heather’s, that I can either take a stand with those Muslim women against the hijab or those Muslim women who are offended by this criticism of the hijab, it’s a no-brainer. It should be for you too. That you think you have the moral high ground on this issue is disturbing as hell.

      1. Again with using ‘virtue signalling.’ You’re just trying to insult me and question my motives. It’s bogus.

        And I’m not lying; either I didn’t write clearly or your reading comprehension is the issue (and accusing me of lying, by the way, is another insult designed to shut down the conversation without addressing my point).

        In that first sentence, she says that to her the hijab symbolises X. That implicitly recognizes that there are other valid ways to interpret the hijab. Later on in her essay, she loses that distinction and refers to it solely as a symbol of oppression, implying that that’s the only valid way to interpret it.

        And the fact that the pressure to wear the hijab / niqab almost certainly differs from place to place, and that plenty of Muslim women see it as something empowering or a part of their identity (I know Muslim women more or less on both sides of the issue), it’s a hell of a lot more complicated than a ‘no-brainer.’

          1. Did I accuse you of lying or question your motives? I think you need to check that spiegel yourself, kid.

        1. While I think the “we’re all going to wear hijabs” movement would actually be seen as offensive by the Woke (sorry, I couldn’t help myself,) if it involved most other cultures (a girl was recently trashed by the far Left for wearing a kimono to prom, no one too pale can wear dreadlocks, all Halloween costumes that aren’t a Greenpeace uniform are out – but we should all wear hijabs? Wait what?); I also think we shouldn’t take on a “liberator of other cultures” role without knowing a lot about that culture. I have no idea how any individual Muslim woman feels about wearing hijabs unless I ask, and I wouldn’t be up in other cultures grills about their traditional dress (telling Sikhs not to wear turbans, Buddhists not to shave their heads, Jewish men not to grow payot, etc.) Our traditional dress is something we all get attached to, I think, and it probably is counterproductive and alienating to many to declare it a symbol of oppression out of the gate. I do think it makes more sense to focus on specific human rights abuses where they exist rather than argue about what is or isn’t a designated symbol of those issues. Symbolic imagery and positive / negative associations are hugely varied from person to person and it’s not likely that haggling with people about it will be productive. (At the same time, I also think it’s fair to say that Muslims should have some understanding as to why hijabs have negative associations for many. I am a sorta-kinda mystic-y Buddhist Christian, but I would not reprimand a victim of the Catholic sex abuse scandal for being triggered by the site of crosses. I also would not say this is grounds to call crosses a symbol of abuse for all people, but I think understanding is called for, for those who have suffered terribly.)

          1. It’s ok, I’ll just read “the Woke” as “people who try not to be assholes.” (:

            Your example about the woman wearing a kimono (it was a Chinese dress, not a kimono) is a bit overblown. Look at the ratios on that on Twitter. Maybe one person saying it was a bit dodgy and then every other human being on the planet saying it was ridiculous to call it appropriation.

            You can find out what individual Muslim women think by reading what they write as well as talking to them, by the way. (: I had in mind a couple of specific acquaintances and several essays I’ve read over the years.

            1. “It’s ok, I’ll just read “the Woke” as “people who try not to be assholes.” (:”

              Thank you for making this point. One of the troubling (to me) implications of the mass hijabing in New Zealand was that, by showing compassion for the victims in this way, it immediately put a contrast with the other women who, for whatever reason, did NOT put on hijabs. The latter started looking like people who do not care, maybe support some views of the shooter, in a word, like assholes.

              1. The whole point of being a church lady (of whatever political or religious affiliation) is to feel superior to others. That philosophy requires someone to be inferior.

                Also, some people have the nuanced view that the massacre was an abomination, yet are still not very keen on Islamisation.

            2. We must have run across different Woke people, lol. Again, positive and negative associations tend to have an extreme “YMMV” component.

              Regarding what Muslim think about the hijab – since there are about a billion Muslim women in the world I don’t think we can say anything definitive one way or the other without extensive survey data. I know for myself, it can go either way, and I tend to assume this is true of women from other cultures. I wanted to be rebellious and wear short skirts and crop tops as a teen, but then, on the other hand, I would in no way shape or form feel “liberated” if someone came to the US and created a stigma against bras and tops for women so that we could share in glorious equality with our male counterparts at the beach. In fact, I would be downright hostile to such a movement, enculturated creature that I am. So what community consensus on such topics are in various communities, I simply don’t know.

              I can see sound reasons why a woman might choose to dress very modestly. I think that a degree of asceticism, for example, is often quite good for people in a variety of ways, and when it is undertaken voluntarily, I’m generally approving. That applies to the Buddhist nun or army recruit who submits to having their hair shaved off to the Catholic nun or woman in a hijab who chooses to cover it. I also think it can be a pro-female statement about not being judged by one’s appearance or body. So long as those are individually held reasons, I’m fine with them… the issue is that individual choice has not been available in so many cases, and I think that element of authoritarianism is what bothers people when they think of the topic. Again, I think it’s only fair to acknowledge that it comes with a lot of historical baggage. I think one can both acknowledge that and also acknowledge that this does not define the hijab’s meaning for a significant number of people.

    2. … to insist that it’s only a symbol of suppression and by implication that no woman could possibly choose to wear it of her own free will is in my opinion pretty patronizing.

      The koran is explicit that women “should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands….″ (24:30-31), so that they “not be harassed”(33:58-59) by rapacious men.

      The sunnah are replete with clarifications by imans that a woman’s entire body is to be covered except “what is beneath the veil covering the head and also what is beneath the wristbands”, and that this must be done whenever in the presence of any man except “a boy who has not yet reached the age of puberty.” (Al-Kulayni, As-Saduq, et al.)

        1. Sorry, that was poorly said: my point is that I think it’s important to look at the current context of a religious artefact (and how it can be different in different places) as well as its history. Saying that its a symbol of oppression and that’s it is way too much of a shortcut.

          1. Okay, so then you must also be okay with the Confederate Flag, because some people who display it say it’s not about slavery. And us Yankees could fly one to show our solidarity with our Southern brothers and sisters.

        2. We do. They say that they wear this clothing out of modesty, which, as Answersingenghis said above, implies that women like me who show their hair are whores.

          I have also mentioned a correlation between the tendency of Muslim women to wear hijab and the depth and orthodox character of their faith. (This of course is not valid for places like Iran where all women are forced to cover.)

          1. The toleration — or even worse, adopting — of female arwah by Western women not only reinforces the subjugation of moslem women, it also indirectly sustains the hideous notion that immodest or infidel women are fair game for raping (as decreed in Islam’s holy scripture.)

  16. but will note that she takes issue, on free-speech grounds, with Prime Minister Jacinda Arden’s request that the killer’s “manifesto” not be published. I agree with Heather here, for exposing hatred is the best way to disinfect it, and I see the advantages of that outweighing the small possibility that others could read it and commit copycat crimes.

    I hear it makes a good case for text suppression, the terrorist *wants* to have it read. And like Breivik’s manifesto people suggest that it does not expose hatred but is a mishmash designed to confuse. So it does not kill, but if it harms we can anyway be morally obligated to suppress it.

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