By Kurt Bayer KurtBayerAPNZ , Matthew Theunissen
New Zealand First MP Richard Prosser has spoken out in defence of his “Wogistan” rant which has been slammed as racist by Muslim leaders and politicians.
In a column for Investigate Magazine, the Waimakariri list MP suggested young Muslims shouldn’t be allowed to travel on Western airlines because ‘most terrorists are Muslims”.
He accepted that most Muslims are not terrorists, but said it’s “equally undeniable” that “most terrorists are Muslims”.
“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.
Prime Minister John Key was “appalled” by the comments, while the New Zealand Muslim Association called them “senseless”.
But in an interview with Newstalk ZB’s political editor Barry Soper, Mr Prosser stood by his controversial stance.
He denied that the use of “Wogistan” was racist, citing mentions of it being a “mythical place”, which could even have been “a real place”.
“Look, people can read things into it if they want,” he said.
“I have a particular style in my Investigate column which is, um, reasonably blunt, and I speak a lot of things that other people are talking about but won’t necessarily say.
“I don’t think it’s anything derogatory particularly, I don’t have any real time for the worst extreme elements of Islam who treat women in a poor fashion. So, I certainly think it’s appropriate for me to make those comments.”
Asked if he was tarring all young male Muslims with the same brush, Mr Prosser said it was a profiling policy that has made Israeli airline El Al “one of the safest airlines in the world”.
NZ First Leader Winston Peters initially said there was “an element of truth’ to what Mr Prosser wrote but that his MP had failed to balance his attack by acknowledging that the majority of Muslims were peaceful and law abiding.
In a subsequent statement, Mr Peters said Mr Prosser had “wrongfully impugned millions of law-abiding, peaceful Muslims” and the article did not represent the views of NZ First.
Mr Prosser said Mr Peters doesn’t vet his columns, which he’s been writing in Investigate for more than a decade, claiming they were separate from his MP duties and party policy.
He believed it was appropriate for him as an MP to make his views heard, saying: “This is what we are here for. We are here to represent and speak about the issues and concerns that people have.”
Mana Party leader Hone Harawira said Mr Prosser’s comments were racist, and without basis in fact.
“It’s kinda like saying that no 19- to 35-year-old white guys should be allowed to go anywhere because they cause so many wars around the world.”
Asked whether the NZ First MP should have kept his comments to himself, Mr Harawira said: “It’s best that they’re actually expressed openly because when people hold views as extreme as that, it’s best that we hear them.”
Act Party leader John Banks said the comments were “crazy” and “bizarre”, while Labour Leader David Shearer believed they could hurt New Zealand’s reputation in other countries.
In his article, Mr Prosser also said: “I will not stand by while [his daughters’] rights and freedoms of other New Zealanders and Westerners, are denigrated by a sorry pack of misogynist troglodytes from Wogistan.”
The 9/11 hijackers were Muslims, as were the London “tube bombers”, Mr Prosser said, along with the Taleban and al-Qaida.
“There is a pattern here, I promise you,” he wrote. “These are angry, young Muslim men who hate the West and want to destroy it.
“They attack us, and our institutions and infrastructures, and our way of life, and our values and beliefs and precepts, because we are not like them, and for no other reason.”
Prosser, 45, has previously made no apology for the strength of the controversial ideas he has been pushing for almost 10 years.
In 2011, he called for the burqa to be banned, while he also wanted bank tellers, dairy owners and taxi drivers to be armed.