New Zealand politicians have rounded on a colleague who has suggested that young men who are Muslim or “look like Muslims” be banned from “Western” airlines.
In a column for Investigate magazine, New Zealand First MP Richard Prosser said he accepted that the majority of Muslims were not terrorists but added it was “equally undeniable” that “most terrorists are”.
“If you are a young male, aged between say about 19 and about 35, and you’re a Muslim, or you look like a Muslim, or you come from a Muslim country, then you are not welcome to travel on any of the West’s airlines,” he wrote.
“If the greatest identifiable threat to modern aviation security is posed by young Muslim males, then surely the answer is to prohibit young Muslim males from flying on our aeroplanes.”
He also claimed New Zealand’s rights were being denigrated by “misogynist troglodytes from Wogistan”.
Since the article was published, New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has distanced himself from Mr Prosser’s views but confirmed he had spoken with him about the irresponsibility of such a one-sided view.
“I’ve told him you cannot go and generalise in the erroneous way he did,” Mr Peters said.
“He wrongfully impugned millions of law-abiding, peaceful Muslims.
“Mr Prosser agrees that the article did not have balance and does not represent the views of New Zealand First.”
Mr Peters added that Mr Prosser had written the article as a journalist and were from an extreme point of view “which we don’t share as a party”.
Ethnic affairs minister Judith Collins described Mr Prosser’s comments as extremely disappointing and feared they could embarrass the country internationally.
“New Zealand values diversity and prides itself on being an inclusive society,” she said.
“Muslims in New Zealand are also a diverse community – it is simply appalling to profile people based on their religion, skin colour, country of origin or a perceived stereo-typed look as Mr Prosser has done.
“Mr Prosser’s anti-Muslim rant has let New Zealand down and as a member of parliament he should know better.
“The Office of Ethnic Affairs works closely with the Muslim community in New Zealand – a community that denounces terrorism and has vowed to work with authorities to counter any terrorism threat.”