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Stop targeting Muslims at the border - Locke

24 November 2005

Stop targeting Muslims at the border - Locke

The Immigration Service must stop targeting Muslim New Zealanders when they return to the country, Green Party Immigration Spokesperson Keith Locke says.

Javed Khan, President of the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand has said Muslims are being "harassed" at the border and is calling on the Government to investigate. The Immigration Service has said it makes no apologies for the move.

"Immigration officials are acting like political police," Mr Locke says.

"They are interrogating New Zealanders whose only 'crime' is to have a Muslim sounding name - or maybe to have visited an Islamic country.

"They are spending so much time detaining upstanding Muslim New Zealanders that they probably wouldn't notice if a real terrorist slipped through.

"Immigration profiling is now bordering on racism, and needs to be stopped.

"I am asking the Government for its statistics on the nationality and religion of those held for questioning at our airports.

"The targeting of Muslims has become worse since Winston Peters started attacking Iraqis in the House and an Immigration Profiling Group was set up last May.

"We don't want to get like George Bush's America, where Homeland Security treats Muslims as second-class citizens," Mr Locke says.

ENDS

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