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Minister reassures Somali community

8 February, 2008

Minister reassures Somali community

Ethnic Affairs Minister Chris Carter has spoken with Somali community leaders following the incident on the Eagle Air flight travelling from Blenheim to Christchurch today which involved a member of the Somali community.

Members of the Somali community are concerned that today’s event will cause other New Zealanders to judge all Somalis by the actions of just one person. They don’t want to see their community stigmatised by this serious incident, Chris Carter said.

“Leaders of the Somali community said they were appalled that someone from their community was responsible for the incident.

“The Somali community leaders I have spoken with requested that people don’t judge the whole community by the actions of a single individual.

“I know, as someone who has had extensive engagement with the Somali community during the 5 years I have been Ethnic Affairs Minister, that Somali Kiwi families, like most other Kiwi families, are made up of hard-working, law abiding people, trying to do the best for themselves and their children.”

Chris Carter will be in Christchurch tomorrow and hopes to meet personally with members of the Somali community.

“I want to assure Somali New Zealanders that the government will not tolerate any racial or religious intolerance,” the Minister said.

There are around 1800 Somali people in New Zealand according to the 2006 Census.

ENDS

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