Imam of Al Noor Mosque directly addresses New Zealand's white supremacists

The Imam of Al Noor Mosque has made a direct statement to white supremacists in New Zealand ahead of Sunday's anniversary of the March 15 shootings.

Gamal Fouda walks down the hallway every day - the very same steps the alleged gunman took on March 15. He's unable to forget - and still afraid.

"Yes, that is human nature that you fear. That is very natural."

The Imam was leading prayer when his congregation was fired on from behind.

His is a leading voice against white supremacy, with this direct message for white supremacists in New Zealand.

"They listen to the whispers of evil. I call them to come to their senses and become human."

Al Noor Mosque was attacked before March 15 - by white supremacist Phil Arps. He's out of jail now, and they worry he could come back.

Then came the attack, which left 51 dead and 49 injured. And earlier this month, a threat was made outside the mosque - leading to an arrest.

"We need to address the issue of racial discrimination in the country," Fouda says.

"We're not angels. We're not perfect. There are people out there who still need to learn."

White supremacy is on the rise in New Zealand - many are young Pakeha men who organise themselves online, and are linked to global networks that spread the ideology over the net.

"We need to address the issue of online hatred. We have to distinguish between hate speech and freedom of expression," Fouda says.

"Hate speech is not freedom of expression. And now the whole saw after March 15, that hate speech can become hate crime."

He is pleased with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's Christchurch Call - that aims to bring in some controls.

But he's disappointed superpowers like the US have not signed because of concerns over freedom of expression - although he will not refer to President Donald Trump directly.

"It is not freedom of expression. It is hate speech and it causes big damage to us," he says.

The Imam wants New Zealand to take white supremacy as a serious threat.

"We shouldn't give them the chance to divide us," he says.

The fear still there not just of another attack, but of the evil forces that caused it.