NZ First MP Richard Prosser has rightly come in for international condemnation for his Investigate Magazine column in which he suggested young Muslims shouldn't be allowed to travel on Western airlines because "most terrorists are Muslims". It doesn't matter how he hedged this statement and his subsequent mealy-mouthed apology has not repaired the damage to New Zealand's reputation as a tolerant and inclusive society.
I became a NZ citizen three months ago. During my application for this privilege I was often asked why I wanted to be a citizen rather than just a permanent resident. My answer was always the same: I love the tolerant spirit of New Zealand, its relative absence of a class system, and its secular system of government. That Richard Prosser should make such dishonest remarks, and still more that he serves as an MP, makes me extremely distressed for our international image.
Dishonest remarks? Absolutely. What's a terrorist? Surely someone who terrorises innocent people whether the terrorist is a member of a guerilla group, an outright criminal, or a member of some country's official armed forces. How about the terror inflicted by US drones in Pakistan and Afghanistan, or the brutality of the Israeli government to the Palestinians, or the genocide of the pygmies in the Congo Civil War; these are just a few examples. Terror acts committed by Muslims are in a minority.
Even if Richard Prosser made a full and contrite apology which showed a genuine acceptance that he got things badly wrong he has nevertheless shown such poor judgement that he should be sacked immediately. But to compound the aftermath his party leader Winston Peters has said there was an "element of truth" to Mr Prosser's comments and says he does not believe Prosser should apologise.
What a disgusting pair they are.