Muslims in NZ fear discrimination if security tightened on flights from Middle East

Muslims in New Zealand fear more discrimination against them if this country tightens security on direct flights from several Middle East countries following a review announced today.

The CAA is renewing security measures on flights from Dubai and Doha, concerning Muslims living in New Zealand.
Source: 1 NEWS

Prime Minister Bill English says New Zealand is considering following the US, Australia and the UK in toughening restrictions on passengers from high-risk Middle Eastern countries to fight terrorism. First the US banned large electronic devices being carried on board flights from some Middle East countries and the UK followed suit, while Australia introduced extra security checks. Muslims in New Zealand say while most Kiwis are tolerant, they do face more discrimination when such bans are announced.

“You can’t find a place [to live] because you are Muslim. And they just want to just give that place to another tenant who is not Muslim,” said Jasim Azhar Saeed, a Victoria University student.

They think these measures are a little bit over the top and draconian”
Professor Robert Patman of Otago University

The Middle East airlines who fly direct to New Zealand, Qatar and Emirates, have not responded to calls from 1 NEWS for comment, but they did respond to the US sanctions by cutting flights. “The noise that’s coming out from some of their capitals is they think these measures are a little bit over the top and draconian and actually hurting people who have nothing to do with such extremist movements,” said Professor Robert Patman, an expert in international relations at Otago University.

The Civil Aviation authority says it’s been talking to its international counterparts, but it refused to go into details about the security review and what measures could be adopted. Transport Minister Simon Bridges made the review public while trying to promote New Zealand in the Middle East and Mr English says the minister is “just responding to the obvious public interest in it”. “And remember we aren’t talking about the Middle East which is actually dozens of countries, we’re talking about seven or eight countries which have been regarded by the US in particular as higher-risk destinations,” the Prime Minister said.

The decision clearly has political and economic impacts, but when it will be finally made is still not known.

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