New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says MP Richard Prosser made a "mistake" when he said Muslim men should be banned from flying on Western airlines, but he will not be stood down.
In a column in Investigate Magazine , NZ First list MP Prosser said young men who are Muslim, look like Muslims, or come from a Muslim country should be banned from flying on all Western airlines.
Prosser said New Zealand should stop hiding behind a "facade of misplaced tolerance born of spineless fear" and face head on "the identifiable threat to modern aviation security" which he claims is posed by young Muslim men.
Peters, who Prosser said had not seen the column before it was published, said the MP had made a "mistake" but that he would not be stood down.
"It's an extremist view on an extreme circumstance in the world's security at this time, but you can't generalise, you cant lump everyone in the same boat," Peters said.
"People make mistakes. This is a mistake."
But Peters said "there is an element of truth to what he is saying".
Pocket knife confiscation
Prosser's comments came after his pocket knife was confiscated at Christchurch Airport, an item he claims he was able to carry on countless trips both nationally and internationally without issue before "the world went mad".
He said he, as a Member of Parliament, should not be targeted at airports and in order to ensure the safety of passengers and crew it is necessary to send a message.
"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."
New Zealanders have taken to social media to express their thoughts on Prosser's comments.
Hayden Johnstone posted on Prosser's Facebook page: "Well aside from your gross generalization, how exactly are you going to define who is a muslim male? Just keep out all the ones that are the wrong 'colour', or make them all state their religion on their passports.. Maybe just ban certain countries from coming here?" (sic)
Izaak Hayes asked: "Why on earth would you assume that every person who identifies with the Muslim religion is a terrorist?"
Meanwhile on Twitter, many people have questioned why Prosser thought he could travel carrying a knife.
Dominic Hutching tweeted at Prosser, saying: "I don't know what a muslim is supposed to "look like" but after your comments I sure know how to spot a bigot."
'Go ride a camel instead'
Prosser said in his column that Muslim men should not be allowed on Western planes until "the religion, which is Islam, has taken it upon itself, and has proven that it is able to prevent the extremists within its fold from behaving in a manner which they have done these past dozen years and more".
"If the belief systems of ancient history are so important to you, and the advances of the decadent West so abhorrent, go ride a camel instead," he writes.
Prosser said he did not think it was an unreasonable demand to make.
"I will not stand by while my daughters rights and freedoms, and those of other New Zealanders and Westerners, are denigrated by a sorry pack of misogynist troglodytes from 'Wogistan', threatening our way of life and security of travel in the name of stone-age religion, and its barbaric attitudes women, democracy and individual choice," he writes.
He says plenty of commentators will take offence to his suggestion, and not only because he is an MP.
"To me this says that the enemy is not merely at the departure gates, but that he, or she, is already within, that excessive tolerance coupled with the twin evils of diversity and multiculturalism, upheld and promoted by political correctness and other weaknesses of spirit and nationalism, mean that citadel has already been breached, and that the terrorists have already won."
David Farrar from Kiwi Blog is one commentator who has taken offence, saying Prosser's latest column is "appalling" and "seriously offensive".
Farrar says he thinks the pros and cons of profiling is a valid discussion.
"But one can have that discussion without referring to Muslims implicitly as Wogs and without calling for Muslims to be banned from flying on Western airlines," he said in his blog today.
"Taking Richard literally, Air New Zealand should refuse to accept any passengers from Pakistan, Indonesia, Turkey, Malaysia etc if they are a young male."
"I can only imagine "look like a Muslim" means if you look South East Asian or Persian or Arabic or Turkish etc? Never mind that they may in fact be Christian or Hindu or anything."
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