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MP's 'Wogistan' rant too 'extreme'

RACHEL YOUNG, ANDREA VANCE AND KATE CHAPMAN
Last updated 16:53 12/02/2013
Fairfax Media

NZ First leader Winston Peters on MP Richard Prosser's rant.

Richard Prosser
Stacy Squires
NZ FIRST MP: Richard Prosser at his north Canterbury home.

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LATEST: Richard Prosser is ''demonising'' Muslims with his comments, a Canterbury academic says.

Waimakariri-based MP Richard Prosser said young men who were Muslim, ''look like a Muslim'' or came from a Muslim country should not be permitted to fly on ''Western'' airlines in an article he wrote for Investigate magazine.

University of Canterbury associate professor in sociology Mike Grimshaw said that if Prosser wanted to make trouble by demonising a group, he was going the right way about it. 

''It's an act of sheer stupidity by Prosser.''

Grimshaw, who has lectured on religion and terrorism, said it was a ''very, very small minority'' of Muslims who committed acts of violence.

''When you demonise any group there is always the potential for backlash,'' he said.

Retired associate professor Bill Shepard said people like Prosser should be ignored.

He said Prosser's comments were invalid and ignorant.

NZ First leader Winston Peters has denounced the views as ''extreme''.

Peters said this afternoon that Prosser had made a mistake.

He said he knew about the article three weeks ago and told Prosser it was not acceptable to present only one side of the argument.

''I've told him he cannot have a view that doesn't have the balance in the other side of the argument,'' he said.

Prosser was not seen entering Parliament this afternoon, and Peters said Prosser was ''busy working''.

''I'm fronting up here to say that this is an extreme view which we don't share as a party,'' he said.

Prosser wrote the column as a journalist, not as a NZ First MP.

The views expressed were not those of the party, Peters said.

He said a press statement was imminent from Prosser, but the MP had said he stood by his comments.

Prime Minister John Key said it was ''an example of the depth of thinking in the NZ First caucus". 

The remarks were ''stupid and premeditated''.

Asked if Prosser should be sacked, he said: ''[Peters] critiques everything I say and it's a long way away from any of the comments that this guys does. Lets see what he does.''

Labour leader David Shearer said the remarks were ''completely inappropriate for this Parliament''.

''It's not something that came off the top of his head as a mistake. It was calculated. I think MPs should act responsibly, and in this case I think it could lead to inciting violence.''

Other nations, particularly in the Middle East, would look on New Zealand ''with some disdain''.

He said it was ''up to Winston'' to ''deal with his own MPs''.

Mana party leader Hone Harawira said: ''Whoever is advising him needs a kick in the backside because clearly he's come out with a really dumb comment.''

The comment was best left unsaid to ''bounce around in that tiny little mind of his''.

ACT leader John Banks said Prosser's views were ''crazy''.

'BLATANT RACISM'

Anwar Ghani, president of the Federation of Islamist Associations of New Zealand, said the comments were ''racist and totally unacceptable''.

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''I think it's blatant racism and I feel sorry for those other parliamentarians who have to put up with him,'' he said.

''I think people like him do not realise how their narrow-minded and extreme views undermine the good work done by others in Parliament at building relationships.''

Ghani said the comments had the potential to harm economic relations with New Zealand if unnecessary weight was given to them.

He said Islamic countries made up a significant portion of New Zealand's trading partners.

''Education is a multimillion-dollar industry here, and I could imagine some students not being very happy.'' 

Ghani said the comments were ''not good at all'', but obviously not reflective of most of New Zealand.

Prosser was inspired to write the two-page article, entitled Enemy of the State, after security officials confiscated his penknife at Christchurch International Airport.

He said ''ordinary people'' were being treated like ''suspects and pariahs''.

Prosser argued that while all Muslims were not terrorists, most terrorists were Muslim, and his answer was to prohibit all Muslim males from ''our aeroplanes''.

He wrote: ''I will not stand by while their [his daughters'] rights and freedoms of other New Zealanders and Westerners are denigrated by a sorry pack of misogynist troglodytes from Wogistan.

''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." 

He said they should not be allowed to fly again until Islam has ''taken upon itself and proven it is able to prevent extremists''.

He appeared to know how controversial his views were, writing that some commentators would  take "umbridge'' at his writing, ''and not only because I am an MP.''

Kiwiblog's David Farrar branded the column ''seriously offensive''.

Prosser wrote his column for Investigate for 10 years before releasing a book last year.

He claimed to be a ''Kiwi Nationalist''.

Prosser ran unsuccessfully as a candidate for the Waimakariri electorate in 2011, getting only 538 votes. He joined Parliament as a list MP for the party.

- Stuff

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