Philip Lyth versus Key, Slater and Farrar

I see Philip Lyth on Twitter quite often, he seems to be a prolific tweeter. He describes himself there as “Husband, politics junkie, psephologist. Standing Orders.”

Last night he retweeted to a John Key tweet and responded:

Philip Lyth retweeted John Key
Wow John. You lead the party which includes David Farrar & Cameron Slater who dogwhistle Muslims at every chance?

That’s a silly shot at Key, he can’t be held responsible for what all party members do – and I don’t think Slater is even a member of the National Party.

On the accusation Lyth made – it’s certainly easy to get the impression that Slater is a Muslim dogwhistler although his wife ‘Spanish Bride seems to have been doing more anti-Muslim posts lately.

But I’ve been a close observer of Kiwiblog for years and I don’t recall much if any Muslim dog-whsitling from David Farrar (DPF). A quick search shows that DPF doesn’t post very often about Muslim topics.

His last post was in March: Why are so many Australian muslims radicalised?

Stuff reports:

A nightclub bouncer who reportedly became a terror group leader. A man who tweeted a photo of his young son clutching a severed head. A teenager who is believed to have turned suicide bomber, and others suspected of attempting to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State movement. All of them, Australian.

The London-based International Center for the Study of Radicalization and Political Violence reports that between 100 and 250 Australians have joined Sunni militants in Iraq and Syria. Given Australia’s vast distance from the region and its population of just 24 million, it is a remarkable number. The center estimates that about 100 fighters came from the United States, which has more than 13 times as many people as Australia.

That’s a huge number.

Experts disagree about why the Islamic State group has been so effective recruiting in Australia, which is widely regarded as a multicultural success story, with an economy in an enviable 24th year of continuous growth.

Possible explanations include that some Australian Muslims are poorly integrated with the rest of the country, and that Islamic State recruiters have given Australia particular attention. In addition, the Australian government failed to keep tabs on some citizens who had been radicalized, and moderate Muslims have been put off by some of Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s comments about their community.

It’s pathetic to even suggest that Tony Abbott is the reason. I’m not Abbott’s biggest fan, but the hatred and bias from many sections of the Australian media towards him is appalling.

I think the first explanation is the strongest. For well over a decade there has been a significant radical element who have not integrated. Many senior Muslim clerics in Australia have said appalling things, and use incendiary speech. We’re very fortunate that in NZ we’ve never had this problem. That doesn’t mean that there are not some extreme radicals – just that the senior leadership in NZ is not radical, and in fact very well focused on integration.

That seems like realistic comment and not dog whistling.

Sure the comments at Kiwiblog are often thick with anti-Muslim sentiment, as was the case on this post, starting with:

Odakyu-sen

Duuuh!

Don’t allow people into your country who despise your culture and don’t want to integrate.

wreck1080

Just ban muslims from coming to NZ.

The ones already here will eventually outbreed us all anyway so lets delay the inevitable .

It is too bad we cannot eject the more troublesome ones already here — or can we?

David Garrett:

DPF: How on earth can you say we are very fortunate not have this problem here ? How do you know what is being preached in the several mosques around the country? The little that does leak out is far from reassuring…just yesterday there was a report of some radical being trespassed from the mosque in Avondale, and that person going to the head sharing’s house and telling him “Jihad will start here”…

All that can safely be said is we have seen little outward manifestations of Islamic radicalism here…so far. I’m afraid it’s just a matter of time.

But I think it’s unfair to blame DPF for dog whistling, this is more a result of his very liberal moderation and the fact that a number of extreme right leaning commenters have made Kiwiblog their pulpit.

Muslim bashing occurs on Kiwiblog far more frequently than DPF posts anything related to Islam. There’s virtually a daily dose from Manolo, like yesterday where he posted the first comment on General Debate:

Manolo (16,656 comments) says: 

The daily dose of Islamic love and peace: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/at-least-28-dead-in-suspected-isis-suicide-attack-on-turkish-border-town-live-10401885.html

Manolo started calling me the Mullah of Dunedin a while ago because I didn’t agree with his extreme views.

But this isn’t due to DPF dog whistling, it is due to the principle of free speech exercised at Kiwiblog.

John Drinnan had responded to Lyth’s tweet:

John Drinnan retweeted Philip Lyth

“wogs” is the term du jour.

That’s correct for Whale Oil, try a search their on ‘wog’ and there’s ample evidence.

But Drinnan is not correct regarding Farrar, his last ‘Wog’ post was in 2013 – Wogistan – that was comment on Richard Proctor’s bizarre comments. And that’s it from Kiwiblog.

So I challenged Lyth on his accusation.

Philip Lyth ‏@philiplyth 11h11 hours ago

Philip Lyth retweeted Pete George

Where’s your evidence Pete George is not a troll?

That’s a lame way of avoiding responsibility for a serious accusation against Farrar and directed at Key and National by association.

It looks like Lyth is the dog whistler here.

Philip – if you can make a case that Farrar is a Muslim dog whistler I’ll post it. Otherwise I think a retraction is in order.

SIS jobs increase with risk

NZ Herald reports that More espionage agents being recruited amid threats on social media in NZ spies to combat new terror threats.

In a rare interview, Ms Kitteridge said New Zealand’s risk level had gone from very low to low. That might not sound significant, she said, but it was of concern.

Ms Kitteridge said SIS staff numbers were linked to the threat level and there had been “very active recruitment” since the Prime Minister announced an increased $7 million in funding in November.

SIS annual reports show the number of people working at the agency has almost doubled since 2001 when it had 111 staff and got $13 million in funding. The most recent report shows it spent $37 million — $3 million more than its budget — and had 218 fulltime-equivalent staff. Ms Kitteridge would not say how many new agents had been hired.

New risks through social media are one reason for the increase in staff.

Facebook pages encouraging violence on behalf of Isis (Islamic State) are among factors increasing New Zealand’s official terrorism risk and leading to a recruitment drive for new spies.

(Kitteridge) described the public relations and technical skills deployed by Isis and al-Qaeda terrorist groups through social media as “slick”.

She said it was an “environmental change” which increased the risk to New Zealand. “Geography doesn’t protect us the way it used to. Al-Qaeda and [Isis] are very slick in terms of technology and PR.”

Ms Kitteridge also gave details of the types of activities that have led to the development of a “watch list” of 30 to 40 names.

“We are concerned about people channelling funding. Some would very much like to go and fight in Syria and other people talk about doing things in New Zealand.

“Some we worry about a lot and some we are absolutely aware of them but it’s another level of risk. We work as hard as we can to make sure we are making that judgment right. But it’s not a perfect science.”

She said they would follow up the leads and tips received by the SIS on 30 to 40 people not yet on the watchlist but whom the PM had identified as needing investigation.

The people who required investigation changed constantly as some were ruled out and others placed on the watch list.

Social media have had an increasing role in Islamic extremism, and Britain and the US have prosecuted users deemed to have made comments supportive of terrorism.

And there’s evidence of what is happening on Facebook.

The Herald has this week tracked multiple Facebook pages of Kiwis that have carried recruitment-style material for Isis.

One such person took to social media this week after French police shot dead three Islamic terrorists in Paris, saying: “My dear beloved brothers and sisters, its time to wake up. Get ur guns, get ur knifes, get ur boots, train intensively, increase your (faith) and (certainty), study the virtues of Jihad (for the sake of Allah).”

Contacted by the Herald, he asked for $2,000 for an interview and refused to talk when told he wouldn’t get any money.

Cheeky bugger. And potentially dangerous. Individuals like this may not become violent themselves but they are trying to talk up and encourage violent acts.

Another page displayed imagery of gun-wielding fighters wearing the keffiyeh headdress in Isis colours carrying the organisation’s slogans. The message posted with the images was: “Just 1 bullet away from jannah [paradise].”

The Facebook account owner — who gives the Middle East as his current location — was linked last year to the Avondale Islamic Centre shut by the Muslim community after concerns about the style of preaching. The man was visited by police after threats to Herald staff covering the mosque conflict.

So threats in New Zealand seem to be more substantial than the Government trying to justify laws to increase surveillance.

Boris Johnson on Islam and war

A column from London mayor Boris Johnson on Islam, awar, hate and solutions (thanks for the link Alan).

The Islamists want war, but it would be fatal if we fell for it

Giving in to fear and its corrosive effects only strengthens the forces of hatred

It’s only known that a small radical minority of those following Islam want war.

This weekend we were all Parisians. While the Prime Minister and others joined the march in the French capital, other European cities staged rallies and events of all kinds. In Trafalgar Square we gathered to pay our respects to the dead of the past few days: to the heroic journalists who died for the right to express themselves; to the innocent victims of the kosher supermarket. In tribute to our sister capital, we illuminated the great buildings of central London with the Tricolore. “Je suis Charlie”, said countless signs. The people of London were sending a message of joint defiance, of shared values, of a refusal to give in to terror.

It was an important show of unity against terrorism and fear.

And yet we must be honest, and confess that in claiming the mantle of the editors and cartoonists of the French satirical magazine, we were being not only presumptuous, we were being pretentious and, I am afraid, simply inaccurate. There is hardly a paper in Britain that has followed the lead of Charlie Hebdo, and printed the offending cartoons of Mohammed. In fact, I cannot think of any mainstream media organisation that has been able to tell its viewers or readers what the fuss is all about.

I don’t think it’s important to do what Charlie Hebdo did. Your don’t have to agree or like or coopy what they did, just defend their right to do it (as others have the right to choose not to do similar).

You would have thought it was essential to the story. Appalling carnage has been inflicted; young men have been incited to commit acts of disgusting savagery; the French nation is in a state of shock and grief. And yet the British public is unable to form any kind of judgment about what exactly it is that is meant to have caused the offence. Was there something particularly rude or risqué about the drawings? Were they obscene? Was it just the fact of the depiction of the Prophet?

It hasn’t been difficult to find out.

There have been offensive Western depictions of Mohammed at least since Giovanni da Modena in the 15th century, and even in Islamic art the image of the Prophet may be rare, but it’s far from unknown. We need to know what precisely Charlie Hebdo did to provoke such mindless hostility – and at the heart of the whole story there is a blank, a big white space. The British press is globally famed for its willingness to say anything to anyone, to tell truth to power, to hold up people’s private lives to hilarity and scorn. In this case, a great ox has stood upon our tongue.

Perhaps, like me and many others, they didn’t like repeating the Charlie Hebdo cartoons. From what I’ve seen they weren’t very good cartoons and the were unnessarily provocative.

I choose not to wave insulting banners outside a Mongrel Mob house. Is that gutless, or is it sensible?

There are some respectable reasons that may be advanced, of course, and we have heard them a lot over the past few days. No one likes to give unnecessary offence to any religion, or to any group of people. There are many acknowledged limits to freedom of speech today – many of which are enforced by the law. There are words that may not be used, or not in certain contexts. There are assertions that may not be made, or not without the risk of legal challenge.

And everyone who publishes, be it newspaper or blog, has a choice on content.

But it is very striking that we in the British media have been almost uniquely reluctant, in Europe, to elucidate our viewers and readers as to the images at the heart of the furore, and I am afraid that it is not just a question of politeness, or punctilio, or old-fashioned good manners. The main reason no one is running the cartoons is that they are afraid.

I can’t speak for them but I’m not afraid to publish them. They are not the sort of thing I’d normally have anything to do with so why should I now? It would achieve nothing.

Then Johnson makes a more important point.

Many fine things have been said and done over the past few days, but some of the bravest words and deeds have come from Muslims. I think of the Muslim policeman, shot in cold blood as he lay on the pavement – try to watch that clip without weeping. I think of the Muslim shopworker, who helped hide some of the kosher supermarket customers in the cold store.

Across France, Britain and the rest of Europe, there are Muslim voices saying what needs to be said, like the Association of British Muslims – which issued a dignified and sensible statement, in which it not only condemned the killings in the strongest possible terms, but defended the right of Charlie Hebdo to publish the cartoons.

I’ve posted similar from New Zealand in Muslim condemnation of Charlie Hebdo killings.

And my hero – the man who got straight to the point – was the Mayor of Rotterdam, Ahmed Aboutaleb, himself a Muslim. “If you don’t like freedom,” he told the Dutch nation’s potential jihadists, “then pack your bags and leave. There may be a place where you can be yourself, so be honest with yourself, and don’t kill innocent journalists. If you don’t like freedom, then f— off.”

That’s a fair point.

It reminds me of the 1970’s when there was noticable British immigration to New Zealand and the term ‘whining Poms’ was commonly used. They had a choice of getting to like what New Zealand offered or returning (which some did).

That is the voice of the Enlightenment, of Voltaire. We can and will protect this country against these jihadist thugs. We will bug them and monitor them and arrest them and prosecute them and jail them. But if we are going to win the struggle for the minds of these young people, then that is the kind of voice we need to hear – and it needs above all to be a Muslim voice.

Another fair point. All Muslims are not responsible for the actions of a small number of vicious thugs. And they don’t have to apologise on behalf of terrorists when they have nothing to do with them.

But is in their interests to speak up. They should keep making it clear that spreading fear and trying to provoke war through terrorism is totally unaccetpable to good Muslims.

This is similar to the worth in non-violent men speaking up against male violence in our own society. We aren’t responsible for the violence but we have a responsibility to stand up against viiolence.

The same applies to mainstream Muslim organisations. It is important that they keep making it clear that they don’t support any sort of terrorism. As should the rest of us.

Muslim condemnation of Charlie Hebdo killings

Muslims are often criticised for failing to condemn Islam related terrorism and this has happened over the Charlie Hebdo killings. It’s usually based on ignorance, I would guess that critics don’t even bother checking before making accusations of inaction.

It’s actually common for countries to condemn acts of terrorism. Including Muslim countries.

Charlie Hebdo killings condemned by Arab states – but hailed online by extremists

Arab governments and Muslim leaders and organisations across the world have condemned the deadly attack in Paris.

Saudi Arabia called it a “cowardly terrorist attack that was rejected by the true Islamic religion”. The Arab League and Egypt’s al-Azhar university – the leading theological institution in the Sunni Muslim world – also denounced the incident in which masked gunmen shouted “Allahu Akbar” – “god is great ” in Arabic.

Iran, Jordan, Bahrain, Morocco, Algeria and Qatar all issued similar statements.

In New Zealand the Federation of Islamic Associations Condemns Paris Attack:

FIANZCondemns

http://fianz.co.nz/sites/default/files/FIANZ%20Condemns%20Paris%20Attack_0.pdf

And on Twitter: Muslims In New Zealand (12,786 likes):

How A muslim should respond to the haters —

1. Sabr (Patience )
2. Silence 
3. Smile 

Dear Brothers and Sisters — while going to work, masjid, mall or for a walk or anywhere if someone offends you or your family in anyways, please do not take the matter in your hand & respond, instead please call the police. New Zealand police are closely working with us and is giving us full support.

May ALLAH swt make it easy for all of us.

89 likes

Ugly reactions at Kiwiblog

Comments at Kiwiblog are dominated by intolerance of 1.6 biliion people because of abhorrent actions of a small number of supposed Muslims.

The posts are fine. David Farrar has two posts on the Charlie Hebdo murders. This morning he posted some of the controversial cartoons – The cartoons that 12 were killed for -and commented:

It is important not to reward the terrorists by self-censorship. Only if their actions lead to the cartoons getting more widely published, might they stop.

Huffington Post has the full set.

I don’t like derogatory and deliberately offensive cartoons and don’t fully understand the French cartoons and their context so won’t post them here.

Yesterday Farrar posted A murderous attack on free speech where he links to an early report on the atrocity and comments:

This is basically religious fascism – killing people who do not subscribe to their religious tenets. These killings will have a chilling impact on media around the world – who will self-censor in fear of similar executions.

What would be a great response is for every media outlet in the western world to publish images of Mohammad, to send a signal that the more you use terror to try and create censorship, the more it will backfire.

So he has followed up on that. Reasonable posts. But there is a large and ugly reaction to Muslims in the comments. Farrar suports free speech as a basic principle so allows people to express whatever they like, but a lot of it isn’t pretty.

A typcial comment from EAD

@ DPF – publishing cartoons is not going to cut the mustard and our PC media hasn’t got the balls to do such a thing anyway less they “cause offence”.

This is what years of PC culture does – instead of fighting these bastards and kicking them out of OUR countries, we make excuses for their bad behavior and keep letting them in.

Instead of expressing disgust in this barbaric behavior, we launch “twitter campaigns” to express sorrow or make sure Muslims feel safe #I’llridewithyou.

Currently 40 likes, 4 dislikes.

Unity:

We should take very serious note. We certainly won’t be immune to these ‘people?’. They should be confined to Muslim countries as they not only don’t fit in with our culture but they easily take offence which leads to tragic consequences in all too many cases. As far as I’m concerned I don’t want them in our country as they are not all peaceful as they try to make us believe.

25 likes, 4 dislikes

I posted a media link and said:

The France attacks won’t help the tensions and growing intolrance thoughout Europe.

Attacking and ostracising innocent Muslims is not dissimilar to terrorists attacking people. Both show a lack of tolerance of others.

6 likes, 45 dislikes

A response from EAD included:

You can take your tolerance and shove it where the sun don’t shine. While you’re at it, I suggest you read Classics and in particular Aristotle who had this to say on tolerance:

“Tolerance and apathy are the last virtues of a dying society”

39 likes, 4 dislikes

A response from IGM:

PG: Get your head out of your arse . . . you are the type these scumbags gain their support from.

24 likes, 5 dislikes

They are more likely to react against the likes of IGM than get any support from me – I don’t support terrorists at all.

MT_Tinman:

Maybe it’s time for the West to take some drastic measures:

Ban ALL immigration of muslims.
Export ALL non-citizen muslims, be they tourists, refugees, visitors or immigrants.
License ALL practicing muslim citizens.
Ban preaching of religious seperatism (of any kind).
Start treating anyone convicted of terrorism-type offenses the way they treat their victims (public death and dismemberment).
Ban ALL trade with any country overtly (or proven to be covertly) supporting islam in any form.

Now that ME oil is no longer able to hold the world to ransom, if the West as a group plus China take these measures I suspect the actual threat of islam will rather quickly fade.

16 likes, 7 dislikes

Dave Mann:

What would be a great response is for every media outlet in the western world to publish images of Mohammad, to send a signal that the more you use terror to try and create censorship, the more it will backfire.

Yes, that would indeed be a good prong to use in a two-pronged response. The other prong should be for the West, led by France, to nuke the whole area of Iraq and Syria which is currently held by these animals. Pour encourager les autres.

11 likes, 5 dislikes

mikenmild responded to that:

Ah, the first call for millions of deaths as an appropriate response. How about tracking down the actual killers and their supporters and financiers?

10 likes, 21 dislikes

That’s just some examples from the first couple of hours in a long thread.

It’s not all ugly reactive and intolerant.

Nigel Kearney shows some decency and commonsense and gets some support for it:

Splitting people into groups and setting them against each other is a leftist strategy. I prefer to judge people as individuals, irrespective of good or bad acts that have been done by others of the same race, gender, religion or whatever.

We aren’t going to protect ourselves from this kind of thuggery by deporting the guy who runs my local dairy.

14 likes, 3 dislikes

Late in the thread UrbanNeocolonialist commented:

To all those who would recommend war on Islam as the answer; would this be strictly an enlightened bomb them from afar war? Kill all the children babies and other non combatants and let Allah sort them out? Or would you be putting your life on the front line? would you be pushing your families and friends to be on the front lines? You know, a money-where-your-mouth is approach rather than frivolously spending other people’s lives.

War is not a toy you play with. Innocent people die both directly and indirectly from impoverishment, it creates injustices and animosities that are passed on for 50-100 years (during which time some of those aggrieved will get nukes) and lets the worst of humanity – the thugs and psychos – off the leash to wreck havoc (eg see Balkans, Rwanda, Taliban, Iraq …). It costs insane amounts of money both immediately and for the next generation or two as the human and material wreckage is managed, and is in sum the deadly fucking serious use-as-a-last-resort-only stick.

I know this is mostly internet chest beating and you are probably not serious, but for any that are: don’t be fucking idiotic.

Scott Hamilton:

‘I gave a definition of integrate I gave a definition of integrate and spelled out the reasons why it was impossible for
muslims to integrate into any western society’

I can’t find that definition in this thread, cricko. You’ve simply repeated that Muslims are awful for NZ and always will be, and that we should boot the devils out. As Kimbo pointed out, you’re recycling the same sort of generalisations we used to hear about Irish and Chinese.

Nor do I get a sense that you are familiar with any of the various quite different ideological currents and ethnic and linguistic groups that make up the Muslim community in NZ. How on earth can NZ’s sizeable community of Ahmadiyya Muslims, for example, which is outspoken in its rejection of jihadism and active in inter-faith activities, be considered a terrorist threat?

‘My points are self evident to most people Scott’

I think your grasp of NZ public opinion is about as sure as your grasp of Muslim opinion.

So it’s not all awful. And the anti-Muslim segment of Kiwiblog represents only a small part of New Zealand society. But it’s a window into an ugly and intolerant segment of our socety.

David Farrar supports the right of cartoons to offend. He also supports the right of commenters to offend. That’s fine. It doesn’t hurt to see that we we do ugly in New Zealand.

Fortunately in the main New Zealand is one of the most tolerant societies in the world.

An argument over Muslim immigration

There have been a number of arguments about Muslim immigration at Kiwiblog on the Sydney hostage thread. One was made by David Garrett, who championed three strikes but wants to give zero chance of a range of people immigrating to New Zealand.

I have come to this very late…so someone has almost certainly said “Why are we at all surprised?”

It appears to be an invariable rule: Let Muslims get to 2% of the population (2.5% in Australia apparently) and you get problems…let them get to 5% (as in the UK) and ghettoization and atrocities occur…It seems the jihadis in Australia aren’t waiting until they get to 5%…

As for the bullshit that banning further immigration from Islamic countries would mean we had a police state here, what a total and unmitigated load of crap…Very very simple: a change of policy to allow no immigration at all from specified countries…easy peasy…

And…

Shawn: Yes, I think that’s probably right…but why not play safe, and just let no more of them in? I agree with those who say trying to deport those we already have is probably impossible…it is certainly impossible for those born here, and overseas experience shows that they are far riskier than their parents, unfortunately…

As for the clown who asked “which countries”? Are you serious? Any country in the Middle East (even Israel, there are Arabs there too) plus any other country which is officially Islamic – such as Pakistan – and any whose citizens have been involved in terrorism… I don’t give a rats how many countries that is…

Call it racist if you like – I really don’t care – but can anyone really argue that illiterate uneducated Somalis add anything to our society…except risk??

A good response from Scott Hamilton:

According to David Garrett, we should prevent a Muslim demographic bomb from exploding in NZ by banning migration ‘from any country in the Middle East’, plus any other country that is ‘officially Islamic’.

As someone pointed out upthread, though, many of the migrants that have arrived in NZ from Middle Eastern nations are not Muslim. A very significant number of the Iraqi Kiwi population are members of religious minorities – Chaldeans, other Christians, Mendaens. Another big chunk of the Iraqi migrant population is Kurdish.

These communities have arrived here not because they want to import the ideology of ISIS and Al Qaeda, but because they have been displaced from their homes by Bush’s war and the various religious fundamentalists that have taken power in its wake. It’s hard to think of any New Zealanders who would be less inclined to raise the black flag of jihadism.

The example of NZ’s Iraqi community shows why bigoted generalisations shouldn’t be allowed to guide immigration policy.

Fortunately people commenting on blogs tend to have no influence on immigration policy.

Sydney hostage situation

There is little detail known at this stage about the hostage situation at the Lindt chocolate shop in Martin Place, Sydney, apart from there being one or possibly two terrorists and thirteen hostages.

This is surreal and shocking but not surprising, there have been indications there could be some radical Islamic action in Australia and specifically in Sydney for months, including a known plot planned for the same location in Sydney.

The signs are ominous. It is quite likely this will not end well.

CNN (Sky87) has live coverage and TV3 is relaying Channel 7 coverage live with some breaks.

They are now saying there could be as many as fifty hostages.

Martin Place Sydney

A police statement now (3.56 NZT) says there is “an armed offender holding an undisclosed number of hostages”.

The police still don’t have direct contact with the offender.

We have just spoken with 2 hostages inside the cafe. Gunman has 2 demands: wants ISIL flag in exchange for 1 hostage, and a call to our PM

Doesn’t sound like the usual sort of Muslim terrorist.

TEN Eyewitness News @channeltennews

They also state there are 4 bombs… two inside the Lindt café at Martin Place – and two further in the Sydney CBD.

You have to wonder at some people:

“4 bombs… two inside the Lindt café at Martin Place – and two further in the Sydney CBD”

Police have identified who the gunman is. He is known to police. NSW Police have asked the ABC not to identify him

Press release from the Australian Muslim Community:

Judith Collins to open Muslim forum

Judith Collins will open New Zealand’s first Muslim forum tomorrow.

Ethnic Affairs Minister Judith Collins will open New Zealand’s first Muslim World Forum in Auckland tomorrow and says it’s an example of our nation’s world-leading approach to building harmonious relations.

“This Forum is a fantastic opportunity for the Muslim community to reflect on its journey so far and discuss its future contribution to New Zealand,” Ms Collins says.

Ms Collins says the Government’s support of this Forum signals its appreciation of the contribution that Kiwi Muslims make, and will continue to make, to society and New Zealand’s national goals.

“Earlier this year the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination noted that many of New Zealand’s efforts to combat racial discrimination represented best practice globally and are being recommended to other countries,” Ms Collins says. 

“Regardless of our religion, ethnicity or place of birth, we are all on the same journey – to find our voice as New Zealanders.

“This Forum will break down stereotypes so we can appreciate diversity and be in a better position to take advantage of all the opportunities this diversity brings”.

http://www.judithcollins.co.nz/index.php?/archives/483-Collins-opens-New-Zealands-first-Muslim-forum.html

Muslim World Forum 2013

Image of Nasir-ol-Molk Mosque
Event date:

Saturday, 23 November 2013

AOTEA CENTRE (Lower NZI)
50 Mayoral Dr
Auckland

The Muslim World Forum is open to all with an interest in the contemporary issues relating to New Zealand’s relationship with the Muslim world and the New Zealand Muslim community.

More information about the Forum: http://ethnicaffairs.govt.nz/events/muslim-world-forum-2013.

What Prosser should have addressed – airport profiling

“One aspect of Prosser’s rambling polemic touched on something of genuine importance.” Airport profiling.

Richard Prosser caused an uproar when he bashed all Muslims with his keyboard in an Investigate column. When this surfaced in blogs and mainstream media this caused a furore. Prosser began as unrepentant, but quickly changed his stance, making an “unreserved” apology – of sorts. See Prosser: ‘I’m apologising unreservedly’ – see also Retreat from Wogistan.

Prosser also suggested what his approach should have been.

Mr Prosser said rather than calling for young Muslim men to be banned from travelling by air, he should have called for an investigation into the merits of “target profiling”.

A column in D Scene by Associate Law Professor Colin Gavaghan has picked up on this.

Should we use security profiling at airports?

One aspect of Prosser’s rambling polemic touched on something of genuine importance. The controversial suggestion terror suspects should be identified based on their appearance is being taken seriously in some quarters.

US philospher and neuroscientest Sam Harris has argued it makes sense to target airport security efforts at youngish Muslim males, as they are the group almost exclusively resonsible for suicide agttacks on aircraft.

Since there us no test that can be administered to detect “Muslimness”, profiling will inevitably boil down to singling out people who “look Muslim”. Read: of middle eastern or south Asian appearance.

Leaving aside the social, ethical and legal problems of using ethnicity as a proxy for dangerousness, it doesn’t take a criminal mastermind of Moriarty proportions to see how this system might be gamed.

As security expert Bruce Schneier has warned, it wouldn’t be smart to rely on a system that can be fooled by a bottle of hair dye.

Some more recent developments eschew racial profiling, using putatively more subtle and accurate markers.

The Facial Actions Coding System works by monitoring all the little muscle movements. Other sorts of behavioural profiling focus on how someone walks and how much they are sweating.

All of which is intended to help security people see into people’s minds. Are they filled with righteous rage, or just slightly irritated by the delayed flight?

How far should we go towards a predictive model of law enforcement?

If it works, the safety benefits could be massive – not only in preventing terrorist atrocities, but maybe also spree killings like Sandy Hook.

It’s one thing, though, if the test just results in someone being subject to a minor inconvenience, like a brief search.

It’s quite another if “false positives” result in completely innocent people being shot dead by jumpy police.

In the middle we have a whole range of possibile inconveniences and restrictions to which people could be subject, based on predictions of what they might do.

For those who don’t resemble the profile of a “typical” terrorist, all this may seem like a price worth paying for greater security. But it won’t be them paying the priced.

Of course this column has attracted minimal attention after the raising of the issue by Prosser. A reasoned and reasonable approach doesn’t make the news, even though it addresses the important issues.

 

 

 

Answers to questions on Islam

A number of regulars at Kiwiblog keep warning against Islam taking over in New Zealand, some say it’s just a matter of time, some go as far as wanting all Muslims banned from the country. They somehow think that in a democracy 2% or 6% of voters can dictate to the majority.

One of these commenters is’bereal’ who was typically over the top last night:

Jeez, this is hard work trying to get a point through to many of the self hating, politically correct supporters
of islam and sharia law we have here in New Zealand

I never see any “supporters of islam and sharia law” on Kiwiblog, but some like bereal accuse you of being that if you don’t agree with their extreme views.

bereal also asked some loaded questions, which I’ve responded to:

Would you rather live under a Westminster system of government and justice,
or, would you rather live under an islamic system and sharia law ?

And why ?

I’d rather live under the system of government and justice that we have in New Zealand. It could benefit from some minor changes and would benefit from a change of attitude to how it is implemented (especially government) but it’s as good as nything anywhere.

Secondly. what aspect, if any of islamic and sharia law do you feel are superior to a democracy based on the Wesminster system ?

Don’t know and don’t care, it’s not relevant. There is no chance of very small minority (in New Zealand) religious based law being implemented here, Even those extremists from the (possibly) majority Christian religion can’t impose their views.

New Zealand has a clear separation of state from religion and in practice that works better in practice than pretty much anywhere.

Thirdly, if you have no answer to the preceeding questions why do you go to bat for islam ?

I’ve answered them. And even if I didn’t that doesn’t mean the only other option is to “go to bat for islam”. I am not religious, I don’t have any intention of changing that and I don’t bat for Islam at all.

I do go in to bat for equality, and I oppose discrimination based on people’s beliefs. Anyone who has religious beliefs has a right to not be comdemned and vilified for things they are not doing and there is no indication or evidence they may ever do.

I see pressure to impose religious beliefs and religion based laws from extreme Christians here, and from no people of other religious persuasions. As they are a very small minority I don’t have any fears that they will convert New Zealand into a religious state.

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