Petition calling for film about Christchurch terror attack to be scrapped gains more than 11,000 signatures overnight

A petition calling for a film about Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's response to 2019's Christchurch terror attack to be cancelled has gained more than 11,000 signatures overnight. 

The National Islamic Youth Association (NIYA) started the petition on Friday night following Deadline's report of a new film in the works titled They Are Us. 

They Are Us is set to follow Ardern's response in the wake of the attack at Al Noor and Linwood mosques in which 51 people were murdered.

The film has received widespread criticism, with some calling it "insensitive", "too soon" and an example of the "white saviour" mentality.

In its petition, NIYA says the film centres on white voices and plans to "capitalise" on the tragedy. The petition's description explains how the film would be problematic for Christchurch's Muslim community and why it should not go ahead. 

"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 "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."

NIYA says it is "inappropriate" for director Andrew Niccol to tell a story of Islamophobia. 

"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."

The petition calls on the New Zealand film industry to not allow They Are Us use of filming locations, gear, talent or crew. 

It asks Ardern to "strongly denounce" the film and "make it clear that the New Zealand Government will not provide any support to enable it to go ahead".

It also asks funders, FilmNation Entertainment and CAA Media Finance to cease any involvement or support with the film. 

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, a 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 shut down" and has "blindsided" the community.