Winston Peters challenged on past comments on Islam

Winston Peters has avoided answering for historical contentious comments about Islam until now, but when he fronted up on RNZ this morning as Acting Prime Minister he was asked about his past remarks by Guyon Espiner.

Peters sounded not very happy about it, and seemed quite uncomfortable being reminded of his divisive and inflammatory comments.

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24 Comments

  1. Duker

     /  2nd April 2019

    “Peters said “extremist Islamic people shouldn’t be coming here” but that doesn’t mean all Muslims should be banned.

    “There are tens of thousands of Muslims who understand exactly what this country can offer them and do sign up to our values, but we have to be far more careful about who we bring here and we’re not.
    A Muslim cleric who made anti-Semetic speeches at a South Auckland mosque earlier this month, was exactly the sort of “racist and extremist” that New Zealand shouldn’t be “encouraging in this country”, he said.

    So he pointed to exactly the sort of of extremist we shouldnt allow – whats wrong with that.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  2nd April 2019

      Nothing, but Winston says many different but related things to different audiences & dog-whistling comments like “moderate Muslims are working hand in glove with extremists, and of the ‘militant underbelly’ of Islam” are what he’s getting grilled over.

      Reply
    • Gezza

       /  2nd April 2019

      Also, Duker, my recollection of the Imam’s defence at the time is that he was outlining or answering a question about one Muslim eschatology – the end times. (I’m not sure he was citing the Quran, may have been one of many Hadith).

      While other Muslims & the relevant association criticised him for iit, said that it is not Islam, & shut him down, I gather that it IS one of the Islamic eschatologies, or THE eschatology.

      One of the many problems with religious scriptures.

      Even the Hebrew sects have varying eschatologies, the Bible ones are debated too.

      Reply
      • Duker

         /  2nd April 2019

        hardly . Even the Muslims were saying he was wrong
        https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2016/11/hate-speech-iman-made-a-mistake—fianz.html
        It was the typical rants against Jews , women etc. But of course Bishop Tamaki doesnt have conventional sermons either.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  2nd April 2019

          Oh yes, those are definitely anti-Semitic (anti-Jewish really, native Arab speakers are semitics too) & anti-equal rights rants, but my recollection is that he was reported elsewhere as also teaching & saying more more than just these things.

          What teachings one gets can depend on what sect you or the Imam belong to, or how widely the teachings go on other sects’ scriptures & interpretations. I seem to recall his being reported speaking about an eschatology that was similar to one of the ISIS ones about at the end times, involving a jew hiding behind a tree. I’m on the low-RAM iPad2 & heading off to hospital to see ma soon. If I get time I might see if I can track down later why I think this.

          It’s perfectly possible to follow a peaceful, tolerant, brotherly & sisterly form of Islam & I believe the New Zealand Muslim community is among the majority who do precisley that. It’s probably not large enuf to support much sectarianism anyway. They preach the general & specific good & tolerant from the Quran & ignore the (nowadays) arguably bad or intolerant or crusading interpretations of verses, mostly placing them in a justifiable historical context only, & considering them clearly no longer applicable.

          I’ve known & regularly interacted with only 3 reasonably well, one man, a Somali refugee (the women in the office adored him but he was married and patiently waiting 3 years for his refugee wife to join him here) & two women.

          One, a Pakeha woman, convert from Christianity, married to an Iraqi, bit of a cold fish, always wore a silk headscarf & always long dresses or skirts, but no Muslim fanatic).

          And the other, my dental hygenist, seen twice yearly for some years now – who never wears a head scarf, dresses in a skirt just below the knee & standard sort of respectable blouse or top, is now divorced, husband returned to from whence he came, has a daughter here, a great sense of humour, beautiful dark eyes, intensely attractive (I think), travelled to the US last year to meet up with a Saudi man she met online, but found he was married, didn’t tell her until then, & so she didn’t feel like being his wife no. 2.

          She likes me as a person (early 40’s – way too young for me to want to try & date, I’d be embarrassed to even ask as it’s nothing more than that) & as a conversationalist, works part time there, and is happy to stay & chat, or even come out to the waitng room when I’m paying, whenever she’s got no other clients immediately after me. Interestingly, she told me during our last chat that she wouldn’t completely rule out marrying a Muslim man who already had one or more wives, it eould depend on the man & whether she liked the wives.

          It appears from all I have seen to date that we have a general & peaceful & tolerant multi-sect core version of Islam being preached. And the community has few if any divisions over interpretations.

          https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam_in_New_Zealand

          Reply
          • Kitty Catkin

             /  2nd April 2019

            You should see the Nigerian Muslim GP (not mine, he’s Malaysian) in the practice I go to. I wouldn’t think that he’d have too much trouble finding a second wife. Tall, dark and gorgeous.

            Reply
            • Gezza

               /  2nd April 2019

              This man’s first name was Ismail. Everybody called him (phonetically) Ish-male for some reason. I asked him how his name was pronounced & he told me Iz-ma-eel, so I called him that from then on.

              He was in a very senior role. He was tall & slender, not especially classically good-looking, & balding, but even men liked him.

              He happily socialised at functions where others were drinking alcohol, with his glass of orange juice, always provided because several staff drank OJ, either usually in preference to booze, or after, say, one glass of wine.

              Everybody liked him. He positively exuded genuine friendliness, humility, & respect for everyone, & was a delight to talk to. If you asked him about his religion he was happy to talk about things like how much he enjoyed the evening feast & charitable works during Ramadan, but otherwise it wasn’t something that was of any significance to his work or work relationships.

              Same with our practicing Christians.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  2nd April 2019

              I don’t know this one socially, but he looks like a nice bloke as well as being yummy. My own GP doesn’t talk about being Muslim, but we have had brief conversations about it (like there not being the versions of the Qu’ran that there are of the Bible) He’s a lovely man, even if he’s not as gorgeous as the other one. There was one young Muslim doctor there doing his time as a GP, and I wanted to take him home and keep him (adopt him)

              All three are real assets to NZ and we’re lucky to have them.

  2. MaureenW

     /  2nd April 2019

    If his comments passed straight-through before, I don’t see any merit in going after Peters now, in light of the Christchurch event and while NZ decides what is and what isn’t hate speech. I think it’s cheap point-scoring, which is not to say Winston’s comments were not also that when they were made.

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  2nd April 2019

      He’s the deputy PM and should be more careful; these things will bite him on the bum and he must know it by now.

      Reply
  3. Alan Wilkinson

     /  2nd April 2019

    Is Erdogan a moderate Muslim?

    Reply
  4. sorethumb

     /  2nd April 2019

    Even the most well-intentioned policy expressions overlook that Mus-limness covers a considerable variability, which is usually glossed over by essentialization. In reality Muslimness covers a broad spectrum of expressions, beliefs, habits, and customs that defies clear standardization. Not unusually doctrinal issues of Islam are mixed up with habitual, customary, or regional traditions. Another confusing issue lies in while being Muslim may not necessarily prevent the adoption of Western “core values” (religion-state separation and democratic governance and processes, embracement of human rights and of domestic “man-made” law, the presidency of secularity in society, etc.) other forms of Muslim identity may contain ingredients which are clearly at odds with Western “mainstream” culture, conventions, values, and norms. Such cultural elements may then be falsely construed to be representative of Islam and Muslimness per se. For instance, difficulties arise when Muslimness is based on an “ultra-orthodox” version of Sharia while on the liberal end of the spectrum Sharia may be used more vaguely as a very personal “moral compass” but may make no demands on expressing it overtly and publicly. Some notions of the desirability of following the Sharia, however, may include requirements of unusually harsh forms of punishment, or aversion to democratic governance and to free speech, or incline toward distinct gender inequality or toward extreme notions of family honor. At the very extremity of Muslimness is the violent, eschatological, and Salafist political Islamism which despite it being a minority expression within Islam tends to tamish all of it with a disastrously bad reputation and seems to give credence to the worst prejudices. To uncouple this expression from the version of Islam that prides itself as a religion of peace and tolerance, commensurate with the modern Western concept of religion, is an enterprise fraught with difficulties.46
    https://books.google.co.nz/books?id=X44rDQAAQBAJ&pg=PA65&lpg=PA65&dq=Eric+Kolig+Muslim+Integration&source=bl&ots=Zf1DYmsnkH&sig=ACfU3U0AcEzn2A86KFW2-u7YyZHEiR6eNQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiMnsXJorDhAhUaWCsKHTlSDFgQ6AEwCHoECAoQAQ#v=onepage&q=Eric%20Kolig%20Muslim%20Integration&f=false

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  2nd April 2019

      Sighhhh….the people who refuse to realise this won’t listen to reason from anyone.

      It’s as stupid as thinking that all Christians are Catholics or Methodists.

      Reply
      • sorethumb

         /  2nd April 2019

        I read that negatively because there is still a very bad element? If not I see every migrant as an opportunity cost and would prefer we stick to our own people. If our own people had stuck to our own people we could move more freely between Anglo countries. I’ve posted before about how immigration into Australia by Chinese and Indians is affecting relations with New Zealanders.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  2nd April 2019

          I read that negatively because there is still a very bad element? If not I see every migrant as an opportunity cost and would prefer we stick to our own people.

          “Our own people” being who, or what type of immigrant, exactly? Or are you saying there should be zero immigration?

          Reply
  5. sorethumb

     /  2nd April 2019

    Jones was killed alongside Australian Christopher Havard, whose parents said he was introduced to radical Islam at the Al-Noor mosque in Christchurch.

    Mosque leaders confirmed Havard stayed there and studied in 2011, but denied radical teaching took place. But a man who attended a converts’ weekend at the mosque 10 years ago said a visiting speaker from Indonesia talked about violent jihad and plenty shared his views. “Most of the men were angry with the moral weakness of New Zealand. I would say they were radical.”

    Jones’ radicalisation was a gradual process. It appears he listened to controversial speakers on the internet, such as Anwar al-Awlaki, a US citizen taken out by a drone in Yemen in 2011, and mixed with radicals in Sydney.

    An Egyptian immigrant who has seen first-hand how Muslims are recruited for jihad said Western converts were vulnerable because, besides feeling marginalised from Western society, they were curious about their new religion and wanted to dig deeper. “The [recruiters] have a brainwashing process known as CRA – conversion, radicalisation and activation,” said the source. “Once the person is radicalised, they tell them, ‘here is your role, your responsibility’. Now the person feels they have something to do, to be important, to be someone.”

    Australian media reported Jones was known to Australian Federal Police (AFP) as an “Islamic radical” and the subject of numerous border protection reports. He and Havard had their Australian passports cancelled in 2012 because it was feared they posed a threat to national security.

    Havard was the subject of an AFP arrest warrant over the kidnapping of Westerners in Yemen in December, 2012. It is not known if Jones, who reportedly fought under the name Abu Suhaib al-Australi, was involved.

    Last week New Zealand Islamic convert Mark Taylor, now apparently fighting in Syria, told The Australian Jones tried to recruit him to al-Qaeda in Yemen in 2009. Taylor, also known as Muhammad Daniel, claimed that at one point Jones had flown back to Australia to get a Saudi Arabia visa to work as a teacher, and was met by British intelligence agents hoping he would work with them.

    Jones and Havard were with five others in the convoy hit by a missile fired from a US drone in Yemen’s Hadramout province on November 19. While authorities believe they were “foot soldiers” of AQAP, they were not the main target of the attack.

    https://web.archive.org/web/20140727140346/http://stuff.co.nz/world/middle-east/10310496/A-kiwi-lads-death-by-drone

    Reply
  6. sorethumb

     /  2nd April 2019

    It is almost as though we’re living through a strange sort of ethnogenesis, in which those who see themselves as (for lack of a better term) upper-whites are doing everything they can to disaffiliate themselves from those they’ve deemed lower-whites. Note that to be “upper” or “lower” isn’t just about class status, though of course that’s always hovering in the background. Rather, it is about the supposed nobility that flows from racial self-flagellation.

    https://quillette.com/2018/08/17/a-closer-look-at-anti-white-rhetoric/

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  2nd April 2019

      That rubbish. Far more working class whites in urban areas that rural areas, where guns are a male bonding tool. Here in NZ , it’s fishing rods

      Reply
  7. harryk

     /  2nd April 2019

    From comments here, NZ seems to be well behind the academic debates on Islam. The moderate/extremist category is a false dichotomy, also known as a logical fallacy. It’s a standard propganda tool and best avoided.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  2nd April 2019

      Probably. Certainly the msm seems woeful in its understanding. From what I know, it’s a “broad church”. There are varying degrees of devoutness, varying opinions on what is devoutness, varying degrees of recognition & enforcement of dress codes – state or social, including none, differences over relevant scriptures additional to the Quran, differences over legitimate Caliphs Sunni/Shia split, many sects/subsects, differences in interpretations of Islamic law & scriptures & jurisprudence & weight & reach of fatwas – but an overall reliance on the Quran, different Sharia Law Codes.

      There’s no simple “moderate/extremist split, nor is there an exact particular “fundamentalist” category that covers all these things in one set of rules & interpretations.

      Reply
      • harryk

         /  3rd April 2019

        Hi Gezza. More useful to analysts are pairs like tolerant/intolerant and quietist/militant. eg there are quietist Wahhabis in Saudi who require an order from the legitimate ruler before they use violence. Wahhabism is an extreme interpretation of Islamic texts, intolerant yet not necessarily militant. The broad historical record shows how Islam has alternated between periods of tolerance and intolerance. So has Christianity. The contemporary surge of enthusiasm for authenticity among Muslims in SE Asia is a direct result of universal literacy programs since the 1970s, allowing cultural Muslims to read their own sacred texts for the first time. A little education can be a dangerous thing eh. After three decades posted to Muslim majority nations Iv’e learned the best advice is to read widely, when you find an interpretation that seems impressive look for critiques of it, and beware those with a political agenda. A moderate personality will usually be predisposed to interpret texts in a moderate manner. Ira Lapidus is a good entry level historian for those who don’t read classical Arabic and want immediately accessible material in English or French. The Moderate/Extremist model promoted by the Murdoch media over the past decade is wartime propaganda and has a use-by date. The same process occurred during the Timor crisis. As we know, propaganda often remains in the public discourse long after it’s ceased to be of any use, poisons debate and is sometimes mainstreamed as history by the winning party. Watch for similar false dichotomies to be applied to China.

        Reply

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