So isn’t this just a Muslim brown on brown issue? What does it matter to white Kiwis (Pakeha), Maori or Pacific Islanders if Muslims want to self-destruct and injure or kill each other, as long as they don’t involve other people?
Firstly, NZ Muslims come in all colours – they are Kiwis. While it’s true to say that the majority of Muslims in NZ have their ethnic roots in Africa, the Indian subcontinent, Indonesia or Fiji, there are significant minorities from other places – they are an ethnically diverse group, including many Pakeha, Maori and Pacific Islanders.
Kiwis have a long history of doing the ‘right thing’ and take their wider social responsibilities seriously. Despite Gordon McLauchlan calling Kiwis a ‘passionless people’, when it matters, Kiwis have shown they are better than that and are capable of caring.
Back in the 1970s when McLauchlan wrote his original book, Kiwis were criticised as being ‘culturally … inbred/isolated/introverted/homogeneous’. While that may have been something of a generalisation (he was trying to define a stereotype), NZ has opened up a little since then. Overseas travel is easier, TV and the Internet have enlarged both our circle of concern and our circle of influence. The population has grown from 2.8m to 4.4m over that period and our sources of immigration have become more varied. This has led to increased prosperity and cultural enrichment for us all.
We are asking Kiwis of all kinds to be more aware of the possibility of HBV occurring and to report it to the authorities when it occurs. This is something we can act on.
An important point to note for non-Muslims; is that if you are approached (probably a little warily) by a Muslim friend or colleague who asks to discuss this type of issue with you, please do not simply refer them to the ‘authorities’, wash your hands of the issue and then start talking about them behind their back. Your friend is likely to be a in a sensitive state where trust is in short supply. Please show some respect to them by talking about it with them directly, if that is what they want. Partly because of the separation of the Church and State in NZ, many non-Muslim Kiwis are reluctant to get involved in anything with any kind of religious connotation, but it’s just basic common decency to talk directly rather than gossip behind someone’s back.
We are reminding the NZ Police to treat this as a serious and a sensitive issue that needs careful handling if we are not to make matters worse. Professional Counsellors also need to be able to recognise the signs of HBV and develop strategies for handling it. It has much in common with Domestic Violence but tends to be perpetrated by more than one aggressor, including the extended family and sometimes the wider community.
This is a huge issue worldwide. As Kiwis we are physically isolated from the rest of the world and it is easy to pretend that the rest of the world doesn’t matter. That is not the case however. Events in the Middle East, Europe, Asia, the US and parts of Africa have a very significant impact on our economy, given our relatively insignificant size. Whether we like it or not, we are dragged along in response to events elsewhere. This is also true of our Culture.
Kiwis need to be aware of the atrocities committed in the name of Islam on a daily basis around the world and put pressure on our government, who can in turn exert some influence on those states who perpetrate these things (or allow them to happen).
“No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were: any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.”
–John Donne. Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions, “Meditation XVII”