Queenstown Mayor Jim Boult horrified by attack on brand new mosque

Jim Boult and the Queenstown Islamic Centre.
Jim Boult and the Queenstown Islamic Centre. Photo credit: The AM Show/Queenstown Islamic Centre/Facebook

Queenstown's Mayor is "horribly disappointed" it took less than two weeks for an "idiot" to target the town's new mosque in a hate crime.

Half-a-dozen posters bearing images of Islam's prophet Muhammad and hateful messages were plastered on the Queenstown Islamic Centre on Tuesday. The mosque, on Gorge Rd, only opened on December 11.

"I'm extremely disappointed and unhappy that there's people out there who think this is okay," Mayor Jim Boult told Newshub on Wednesday.

"I use the word 'people' reservedly. These are just disgusting individuals."

A witness said the images were taken from satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo, which was attacked in a reprisal by Islamic extremists in 2015, leaving 12 staff dead. 

Boult said the posters were quickly removed. He could only remember one previous incident of anti-Islamic material being posted around town, calling this latest act an isolated incident.

He had a pre-arranged meeting with the Muslim community scheduled for Wednesday.

"On behalf of the community I will be apologising to them, although obviously it's beyond our control to stop some of the idiot faction doing these things."

Police told Newshub they are investigating.

"Police are taking this matter seriously, as we do all reports of hate speech or behaviour that causes concern to our communities."

Boult said he believed it was an isolated incident.

"We are a very inclusive community - there are 47 different nationalities in our high school here. Our community enjoys and embraces the fact we have so many different beliefs and nationalities here, so this is foreign to us."

Dozens of non-Muslim locals attended the opening of the centre earlier this month, eager to learn about the world's second-largest religion. 

"I'm delighted they've got a place to worship," said Boult. 

Newshub has reached out to the centre for comment.

Fifty-one people were killed in an attack on two mosques in Christchurch in 2019.