Hundreds sign petition calling for film about Christchurch terror attack to be scrapped

The National Islamic Youth Association (NIYA) is calling for the film about Jacinda Ardern's response to the Christchurch terror attack to be shut down, as it centres white voices, and plans to "capitalise" on the tragedy.

NIYA's petition has received almost 900 signatures in an hour.

On Friday, Deadline reported a new film in the works, titled They Are Us.

It will follow Ardern's response in the wake of the 2019 attack at Al Noor and Linwood mosques in which 51 people were murdered. 

Since it was announced on Friday, it's received heavy criticism with people calling it "insensitive", "too soon" and an example of the white saviour mentality. 

In the petition description, NIYA outlines why the film should not go ahead, and why it so problematic for the Muslim community of Christchurch and New Zealand. 

"Any film that seeks to represent the experiences of such an attack requires the direct and constant consultation of the Muslim community and must be done through an exercise that isn't represented in a tokenistic manner", said Sondos Qur'aan, Co-Chair of NIYA.

"The 'They Are Us' movie is insensitive and would only serve to invalidate the experiences of survivors and victims of the attack and cannot be supported by our organisation. 

NIYA says the film should not go ahead because it "sidelines the victims and survivors and instead centres the response of a white woman".

"The film centres white voices and therefore will continue to white-wash the horrific violence perpetrated against Muslim communities."

It also blasts director Niccol for trying to profit from the story.

"It is not appropriate for Niccol, someone who has not experienced racism or Islamophobia, to lead and profit off a story that is not his to tell."

Philippa Campbell, one of the film's producers, told Newshub production had worked with "a considerable number" of family members of the victims, but admitted they weren't able to consult with everyone. 

NIYA says many people close to the tragedy were not consulted - including Aya Al-Umari, whose brother Hussein was killed in the attacks, Tony Green, member of the An-Nur mosque who acted as a media spokesperson for the Muslim Association of Canterbury after the attacks and Guled Mire, Muslim Community Advocate.

All three agree the film is "capitalising" on tragedy, "needs to be shutdown" and has "blindsided" the community.