Mainstream NZ media picked up on the story of Shaykh Dr Mohammad Anwar Sahib after WhaleOil made public a collection of quotes from his sermons that demonised Jews and subjugated women. Dame Susan Devoy came out quickly to condemn the speech but was equally cautious to tell us “these are the views of a single person and are not held by every single Muslim New Zealander”. Just how many of the 50,000 Muslim New Zealanders don’t hold anti-Semitic or misogynistic views, though, and how many are even more radical?
With an election year next year, immigration may well be a hot-button topic, especially if there’s an ‘incident’ – not just a close call. National, Act and NZ First were quick to condemn Sahib. The Greens have also made a reasonable comment. Even they can see the link between hate preaching and murderous rampages. It’s only Labour that can’t bring themselves to think of Islam having a bad side – or maybe they also think Jews are the enemy and women shouldn’t leave the home without permission.
There is a small Muslim sect which seems to be truly against the violent, political Islam that we see most vividly in France, where Islamic extremists have driven over people at celebrations, slaughtered Jews, and murdered cartoonists. Judging by the statement from the Islamic Women’s Council, many of the women disagree that they need permission before leaving the house and were outraged by the anti-Semitic statements.
However, FIANZ (and New Zealand feminists) weren’t as strongly opposed to Sahib. FIANZ did eventually stand down the hate preacher from his official position but their radio interview and initial press release leave open many questions about the sincerity of representatives of New Zealand’s largest Muslim population.
A jihadi expert, Aaron Zelin, has reported on some of those New Zealanders who have wanted to fight for Islamic State. One of those, Imran Patel, was recently jailed for over 3 years for having and distributing Islamic State material. Another Islamic State supporter, Te Amorangi Kireka-Whaanga was named as one of the most influential Muslims in the world. He has recently commented on the 1 News Facebook page about Sahib, that he is “100% behind our shaykh [Sahib] we say what he says and we stand for everything he stands for amen amen”
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