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Seriously? Anti-Muslim Petition 'Serious' Enough For Parliament Website

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How did a public petition seeking to evict all Muslims from New Zealand make it to Parliament's website? Turns out it was "serious in intent". Well, at least that's what record-keepers at Parliament thought.

To be clear, the petition was - in the very least - outrageous. Must admit when news about the petition appeared online on March 5, 2024, it appeared the plea had slipped through the Parliament's scrutiny apparatus. It became clear today it was, in fact, quite the opposite - officials did moderate the petition when it was submitted in December 2023 and, wait for it, considered it "serious in intent".   



Yes, the Office of the Clerk says that's one of the many criteria petitions must meet before they can be put up for votes on Parliament's website. This one did, Clerk of the House David Wilson said in an email reply to a specific query by The Indian Weekender how did such a petition make it to the official website. Not just that - it even garnered 127 votes in the nearly two months it remained online.   

The petition was taken down on March 5, 2024, and though it was initially unclear why it was removed, the Office of the Clerk told The Indian Weekender on Wednesday the petitioner had chosen to withdraw the petition.    


   Also read: https://www.indianweekender.co.nz/news/remove-all-muslims-petition-slips-through-on-nz-parliament-website  


Titled 'Petition of Michael Anstis: Remove all Muslims from New Zealand', the petition was started on December 4, 2023, and had garnered 125 signatures till March 4, sparking outrage among Kiwi-Muslims, who are questioning why it was allowed to be published online.

David Wilson, Clerk of the House, said in an email reply, "Office of the Clerk works with petitioners to ensure their petitions comply with Standing Orders. Our role is to facilitate access to Parliament, not to pass judgment on the content of a petition."

Wilson said Office of the Clerk moderates all petitions before they are cleared to be published on the Parliament website. Among the several criteria a petition must meet to qualify for publishing is one that requires petitions to be serious in intent, Wilson said.

When asked if this particular petition met all the criteria, Wilson said, "All of the criteria had been met for the petition in question. I acknowledge that the request and the reasons for it expressed by the petitioner would be objectionable to many New Zealanders.

"However, petitioners are entitled to their own views and to raise those views with their elected representatives. It is not the role of my office to prevent them doing so, provided the petition complies with Standing Orders.” 

Tayyaba Khan, leader of the Khadija Leadership Network, has emphasised the urgency of addressing this issue. "I think it's fair to say that, overall, people are very, very scared - we're not living in an environment where you can feel safe," she told Newshub.

Khan stressed its presence had instilled fear within the Muslim community, especially given the current volatile geopolitical climate. "You've got Palestine, you've got Afghanistan, you've got Iraq, you've got what's happening in China - there is lots of interconnection in terms of what's happening for Muslims globally," she explained.

"Then you have a petition like this in a faraway place like New Zealand, which, for a very long time, we thought was a haven and nothing like the Christchurch terror attacks would happen here - and they did. So, you can imagine, there is fear there", Newshub reported.

Khan highlighted the genuine fear that the petition has provoked among people. "There is a culture here in New Zealand about, 'Oh, let's not give this too much air - I mean if it's just sitting there, nobody knows about then it'll be fine.' But look, when the Christchurch terror attacks happened, nobody knew about it, and it wasn't fine. Can we take these things lightly? I don't think so."

These concerns have arisen just over a week before the fifth anniversary of the Christchurch terror attacks, in which a white supremacist targeted two mosques, resulting in the deaths of 51 Muslims.

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