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Prosser apologises

Last updated 11:57 13/02/2013
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Richard Prosser

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Canterbury MP Richard Prosser has apologised on national radio this morning but his efforts have been rejected by Muslim leaders.

Prosser, NZ First MP for Waimakariri, was verbally flogged for his column in Investigate magazine, entitled Enemy of the State. In the article he called for all Muslim men aged 19 to 35 years old, to be banned from flying on Western airlines.

The column came in the wake of Prosser's pocket knife being confiscated at Christchurch Airport.

The Muslim community spoke out about Prosser's comments, with critics labelling them racist. NZ First leader Winston Peters appeared on Campbell Live last night, and said he would not be sacked, nor did he have to apologise.

However, speaking on Radio New Zealand's Nine to Noon show this morning, Prosser did apologise. 

"I'm sorry. . . to the majority of peaceful, law-abiding Muslims who are not involved in terrorism."

But the head of the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand (FIANZ), Dr Anwar Ghani, said Prosser's apology was not good enough.

"I wouldn't call it an apology, it was a softening of the tone, that's all," he said.

"It seems to me he still maintains what he said, by and large. And he's simply trying to align his comments with what his leader has said."

He said the damage done by Prosser yesterday has not been reversed by the apology.

"He has to come out and say unreservedly that 'I apologise if my act has caused any offence to any of the Muslims in New Zealand'."

But this morning Prosser told RNZ he did not "have any time" for Islam as a religion.

"I make no apology for the fact I don't have any time for people who denigrate women, or for institutions that suppress human rights."

In his RNZ interview he denied he was being racist. "It is a religion not a race."

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