NZ First MP Richard Prosser has apologised for the lack
of balance in his controversial article about Muslims and says
he's not a racist - but he stands by his comments and won't be
standing down as an MP.
In the article in Investigate magazine, Mr Prosser said while
he accepted most Muslims were not terrorists, it was
"undeniable" that "most terrorists are Muslims".
His column was sparked by the confiscation of his pocket
knife before boarding a domestic flight and he wrote that New
Zealanders' rights were being "denigrated by a sorry pack of
misogynist troglodytes from Wogistan, threatening our way of
life and security of travel in the name of their stone age
religion, its barbaric attitudes towards women, democracy,
and individual choice".
"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 wrote.
He told Radio New Zealand's Nine to Noon this morning he had
not calculated the percentage of young Muslim men who were
involved in terrorism compared to the global Muslim
Mr Prosser said he should have called for an investigation
into the merits of racial profiling, instead of calling for a
blanket ban on young Muslim men being able to fly on Western
Mr Prosser said it was silly to ignore something which was an
apparent threat on the basis of not wanting to offend.
"It's a reality that because of the actions of a very small
few, the entire world has had to change the way it behaves
even though the vast majority of the people who travel are
not going to cause any problems on aeroplanes."
He wouldn't stand down as an MP, and denied he was a racist.
"Islam is a religion, it's not a race. I don't know why
people jump on the racist bandwagon."
Mr Prosser said he realised he had given cause for people to
be offended "where they don't fit that profile where the vast
majority of peaceful, law-abiding Muslims weren't
"I didn't have balance in that article. For that I'm sorry."
He later released a statement which read:
"Terrorism and airline safety worldwide is a serious issue
which consumes great resources and causes major disruption.
"The issue requires positive solutions, and my article in
Investigate magazine sadly did not contribute to that.
"I accept that I impugned many peaceful law-abiding Muslims,
and to them I unreservedly apologise.
"My opinion piece does not reflect the views of the New
Zealand First Party and I deeply regret any embarrassment
caused by it."
Mr Prosser told Radio New Zealand he considered himself a
"shock jock with a pen" but said his language in the column
was not appropriate.
"Having had time to have some conversations yesterday with
Winston [Peters] and a couple of others, and having had time
to reflect on it overnight, I concede that some of the
language that I used in the column wasn't appropriate.
"There's a style that I've developed over the previous 10
years to coming into Parliament, which is sort of 'shock jock
with a pen', that even though I've gone to some lengths to
try to separate my role as a columnist from my role as an MP,
I can see now that it's not appropriate for me to be saying
things in the way that I have said them anymore.
"The article wasn't balanced in the sense that I did say not
all Muslims are terrorists, but I didn't go any further
beyond that, and I should have gone to greater lengths to
reiterate that we're only talking about a very small,
"I didn't have the balance in there that would enable a
reader to separate the fact that the majority of Muslims are
law-abiding people. And that's obviously caused some upset,
and for that I'm sorry."
Meanwhile, Investigate's editor Ian Wishart said he only
"skimmed" over the article before it went to print.
"I perhaps should have read it more carefully," Mr Wishart
told Morning Report.
"I probably would have gone back to him said, 'Do you really
want to say this in that way?'
"The point that he was making ... that there is a valid
argument to be made about the amount of wasted time and money
in profiling people at the airport and taking aside grandmas
and babies for security."
Mr Wishart criticised the media for not publishing the column
in its entirety and the comments about not letting Muslims on
Western airline flights were being taken out of context.
"It's a ridiculous remark but in the context of the column
it's a tongue-in-cheek remark," he said.
Mr Wishart said the column raised important issues about the
Muslim extremists entering New Zealand.
"I would not have phrased it in the way that he's phrased it
and I think, I don't know what Richard Prosser thinks, but
he's probably and saying, 'Maybe I shouldn't have phrased it
that way myself'."
By last night the story had spread as far as the United
States, the United Kingdom and Malaysia. At least two
Australian media outlets were running Mr Prosser's comments
as well as the Straits Times in Singapore and The Muslim
News, a UK-based news website.
The Sun Daily in Malaysia had as its lead headline, 'New
Zealand lawmaker calls for Muslim Flight Ban'.
ABC in the US was reporting: "NZ politician wants Muslims
banned from airlines".
Mr Prosser's comments have been slammed by politicians across
the political spectrum, however NZ First Leader Winston
Peters said there was an "element of truth" to Mr Prosser's
comments and did not believe the MP should apologise.
British MP George Galloway, who has campaigned against
Islamophobia for 30 years, told Radio New Zealand Mr
Prosser's comments were "disgusting".
"I'm surprised because it's New Zealand and I'm surprised
that it has come from the pen of a Member of Parliament.
"It's not surprising in another sense that there are
right-wing politicians across the world seeking to scrape the
barrel of prejudice in order to boost their political
Mr Galloway said it was "deeply shocking" that Prosser's
party leader had not repudiated his comments entirely.
"What kind of leader would not see that talking about
'Wogistan', talking about Muslims - 1.7 billion of them - in
these sweeping stereotypical and deeply insulting ways [is
Mr Galloway said the comments could be "dangerous" for New
"It's not good for New Zealand to be known as a country where
Parliamentarians go un-repudiated when making these deeply