Online platforms are at the core of manufacturing and disseminating Islamophobic hate globally, and in Aotearoa New Zealandi. The Islamophobic hate on these platforms is largely unregulated, with both platform-driven mechanisms and state/civil society led mechanisms largely absent in regulating this hate. The current digital environment in Aotearoa is largely unregulated when it comes to addressing hate targeting communities at the margins, and particularly so when it comes to regulating Islamophobic hate. The Human Rights Act does not offer protections to Muslims who are targets of religious hate. Moreover, hegemonic constructions of human rights within the structures of colonialism have produced and
disseminated Islamophobia to legitimize neocolonial interventions, including in the most recent instances of imperial intervention as evidenced in Operation Iraqi Freedomii, the invasion of Afghanistan, and the ongoing Israeli occupation of Palestineiii.
The constructions of free speech in policy conversations on regulation have catalysed the proliferation of digital hate while simultaneously silencing the voices of communities at the margins experiencing the hateiv. In Aotearoa New Zealand, the discursive constructions of freedom as an instrument for spreading colonial violence are embedded in the white supremacy of the settler colonial state that has systematically worked to erase the voices of Māori while simultaneously protecting and feeding racist speech targeting Māoriv. The Harmful Digital Communications Act 2015 and the mechanisms of Netsafe are not built to address the hate targeting marginalized communities. The underlying whiteness that shapes the digital environment individualizes the sources of hate, simultaneously individualizing the responses to hate, and is not built to address pile-on, networked forms of hate, and hate that originates from the structures of white supremacy. This individualizing ideology leaves the underlying infrastructure of white supremacy intact, replete with rhetorical devices that claim kindness and altruism. This lack of an adequate regulatory framework is normalized through the Islamophobic infrastructure of the Crown, reflected in its security intelligence infrastructure that has mainstreamed Islamophobia through the marking of the Muslim as the “other” in the 9/11 climate and the neocolonial war on terrorvi.
Read the White Paper below: