Barbarism in NZ and Canada

Last updated 16:00 31/01/2012

I doubt I was the only person upset and angered at the story of the 17-year-old girl in Wellington whose parents tricked her into a forced marriage. She was imprisoned at home for several months, until she escaped.

Her parents have gone back to Pakistan, but the father is reported to have said he would kill her if he saw her again.

Sadly this can't just be dismissed as hyperbole. Canada has just had a conclusion to a trial in which a father, with help from other family members, killed his three daughters and one of his wives. This was a so-called "honour" killing. Of course honour had nothing to so with it. Secret wiretaps revealed the father saying "God curse their generation, they were filthy and rotten children," and "To hell with them and their boyfriends, may the devil s**t on their graves."

The 17-year-old girl in Wellington may be lucky she escaped such a fate. As New Zealanders, we need to ask ourselves what we can do to minimise this occuring in New Zealand.

Let me start by saying I am very much a fan of immigration into New Zealand. I think that subject to the right criteria, immigrants help grow the New Zealand economy, but also help our society grow. I think it is a good thing that we have a multicultural society which blends many races and cultures.

I also think that one has to be careful not to attribute events like this to one religion. While forced marriages and honour killings are generally associated with so-called adherents of Islam, they are a tiny minority. Some might advocate that our immigration laws should discriminate on the basis of religion, but I do not.

What I do advocate, though, is we should consider a more thorough testing of people's fundamental beliefs and character in our immigration programme.

There are many things that New Zealanders have a diversity of opinion on. But there are also some things which are fundamental to New Zealand society. I would include in that list of fundamentals the rule of law, democracy, equal rights for women, separation of state and church, and free speech. What I would advocate is that potential immigrants to New Zealand are made very aware of these fundamental New Zealand values, and told that if they are uncomfortable with a society where (for example) women have equal rights, then perhaps New Zealand is not a place where they will be very happy.

The Netherlands did something like this a few years ago, when some of their more recent immigrants were taking violent actions against openly gay couples in public. The Netherlands has long been a tolerant country for same-sex relationships. So the government moved to make prospective immigrants see a video of typical life in the Netherlands, and this included showing same-sex couples displaying affection in public. The message was that if this makes you uncomfortable, then this is not the place for you.

I'm not advocating exactly the same approach here. But I would like to see something done to educate prospective immigrants on New Zealand society, and especially on the equality of women - that they can choose their own partners, how they dress, if they work and that the family's views do not override the law, once they are no longer a child.

This doesn't guarantee we won't still have some immigrants (and let's remember it is already a small minority) who have beliefs incompatible with NZ society, but it may reduce the chances of further forced marriages or even so called "honour" killings in New Zealand.

David Farrar is a centre-right blogger affiliated to the National Party. His disclosure statement is here.

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Alan Wilkinson   #1   04:09 pm Jan 31 2012

"What I would advocate is that potential immigrants to New Zealand are made very aware of these fundamental New Zealand values, and told that if they are uncomfortable with a society where (for example) women have equal rights, then perhaps New Zealand is not a place where they will be very happy."

I agree, except I would put the recommendation a lot more forcefully. I would also add their pre-immigration education should be very explicit that their children will inevitably grow up with modern New Zealand attitudes that will seriously and dramatically conflict with those where they came from. If they are not prepared to tolerate and welcome that then they have no business immigrating here.

Richard   #2   04:20 pm Jan 31 2012

Excellent article.

It's tough navigating these issues sensitively but truthfully, but you have done it.

Jo   #3   04:27 pm Jan 31 2012

A very thoughtful and balanced article about a very difficult subject - thanks.

Claire   #4   04:39 pm Jan 31 2012

Spot on.

Kali P   #5   04:51 pm Jan 31 2012

A few years ago, I wrote to several NZ politicians and newspapers, predicting this very thing, with their lax laws and casual attitudes towards Muslims.

Sorry to say that my predictions have come true - NZ is going to have its hands full with this, just as the rest of the world is being plagued by it. Better wake up quickly, or NZ will be RUINED. That's another prediction - and I won't be wrong either, if NZ continues to pander to Islam.

A.S.B   #6   05:10 pm Jan 31 2012

Set strict guidelines and interview each and every new migrant as to what their beliefs are (yes it would be costly, but its better to have an upfront initial cost rather than a greater financial, societal cost further down the track). Those non-compatible to NZ are denied. Yeah sure it would be easy to lie your way through the interview, but ensure there are safeguards such as deportation if they are caught breaking certain values such as freedom through the likes of barbarianism through forced marriage etc.

Or the alternative, educate every migrant into dropping that scourge known as religion (regardless of background) and build a truly secular society free of religion and culture as they are divisive mechanisms and build a society on principles of freedom, individualism etc

kowtow   #7   05:15 pm Jan 31 2012

NZ is not "multicultural", if it was we wouldn't be too bothered about these barbaric cultural attitudes and practices.

If you want to minimise the problem and still want immigrants then only accept immigrants from similar cultures as NZ's.

GeorgieGirl   #8   05:18 pm Jan 31 2012

I think it’s a bit presumptive to blame illegal and violent behaviour on someone’s culture. Ignorance is not an acceptable excuse or justification either. You can bet the parents of that girl knew their actions were illegal by New Zealand law and unacceptable to New Zealand cultural values.

I think it’s great to let people enter NZ with different cultural ideas but they do need to be made aware of the legal and societal repercussions of different cultural behaviours in NZ.

AndrewK   #9   05:34 pm Jan 31 2012

<i>"So the government moved to make prospective immigrants see a video of typical life in the Netherlands, and this included showing same-sex couples displaying affection in public. The message was that if this makes you uncomfortable, then this is not the place for you."</i>

Or we could really teach them a lesson by inventing a flimsy pretext ("They got weapons of mass destruction!"), invade their countries, slaughter hundreds of thousands of their citizens and swipe their oil. As odious as these crimes are they pale into insignificance when compared to what a vicious US slaughter machine has done to vast swathes of the Middle East.

If these families are guilty, which they appear to be, then they should be subject to <i> "... the rule of law, </i>. They should be treated the same way a white person in a military uniform would if they offended in a more horrific way, like Sgt. Frank Wuterich, who has just been let off for leading the Haditha massacre.

The real problem is not the attitudes Muslims bring to western counties, the problem is the amount of time and effort certain western nations squander on slaughtering Muslims.

I can't help thinking, when I see another story highlighting the transgressions of Muslim perpetrators, that the media is deliberately implicating Islam generally in whatever the transgression may be. And that this endless diatribe is creating a stereotypical 'Muslim' who can be murdered in a foreign land without consequence or comment in a media in thrall to his murderers.

Ben   #10   05:55 pm Jan 31 2012

There are some aspects of our culture which are not negotiable. Freedom of speech and seperatation of church and state. We don't kill people or threaten violence in the West because someone makes a joke about the pope or holds an opposing viewpoint and that makes our culture better.

I would not move to Saudi Arabia and expect to continue my lifestyle and the same expectation should be made of those that come here.

I'm generally liberal on most issues but this is one I don't think the Western world can or should back down from.


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