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Call to avoid linking NZ communities to terrorists

13 September 2001 Media Statement

Call to avoid linking NZ Muslim and refugee communities to terrorists

Acting Prime Minister Jim Anderton is urging New Zealanders not to associate New Zealand's Muslim community or Afghan refugees with the acts of terrorism in the United States yesterday.

He says he has already seen some comment, for example in faxes to his office, suggesting links on the basis of nothing more than people's nationality.

"One of the great things about New Zealand is our tolerance and the absence of political and religious extremism in New Zealand. I call on New Zealanders to remember that and not blame or associate people in New Zealand with the terrorism in the US on the basis of national origins.

"It is reprehensible to link the terrorist attacks in the US to refugees in New Zealand, let alone to New Zealand's Muslim community.

"Even if Islamic extremists are ultimately shown to be responsible for the terrorist activity, refugees to New Zealand are by definition trying to get away from persecution by extremist regimes and they can hardly be blamed for that," Jim Anderton said.

ENDS

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