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Maori Party asks 'what's the joke?'

Maori Party asks 'what's the joke?'

The Maori Party is disgusted at the decision of some media outlets to print cartoons which depict the prophet of Islam.

"Where is the joke in poking fun at a group of religious followers"? asked Tariana Turia, co-leader of the Maori Party. "Publication of these cartoons will not only incense the feelings of the Muslim community but it is also an outrageous attack on any efforts to create unity throughout Aotearoa."

"If certain media think publishing the offensive cartoons is permissible in the interests of 'knowing', then they need to think again", stated Mrs Turia. "All that it does is continue to spread racial prejudice and religious offence. No religious group should have to tolerate that sort of abuse, particularly under the guise of entertainment".

To add further insult to injury, many Muslims consider the cartoons as blasphemous, as in the Islam faith, it is forbidden to depict any images of any of God's prophets.

"We must establish some standards of decency to prevent the cultural offence that has been caused through publication of these cartoons" stated Dr Pita Sharples, Co-leader of the Maori Party.

"It's one thing to promote freedom of the press and freedom of expression, but quite another to use those rights to justify the decision to insult religions and beliefs".

"The cultural insensitivity that has been demonstrated with this issue is not new to us" stated Dr Sharples. "As we approach Waitangi Day, it reminds us that we are not a mono-cultural society, and we should learn how to respect other cultural beliefs and practices".


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