Muslim leaders here are worried a push to send the SAS to fight ISIS-linked terrorists could fuel a backlash among the Muslim community in New Zealand.
TV NZ Speaking to Radio New Zealand, Wellington’s Kilbirnie mosque’s Secretary of the International Muslim Association of New Zealand, Tahir Nawaz, says supporting the fight in Iraq would be a bad idea.
“Once New Zealand troops are sent there, our public attitude could change. At the end of the day there would be people living here whose roots are in the countries where New Zealand would send the troops.” Tony Green the Secretary of the Federation of the Islamic Association of New Zealand believes more western boots on the ground would further radicalize Muslims in the west.
“That potentially fuels things because the whole martyr kind of scenario that’s been painted by the groups calling themselves IS, that would fan the flames more than anything.” When asked if he believed a terror plot like the one in Australia could happen in New Zealand, Mr Green said he thought it was unlikely but there were no guarantees.
New Zealand’s elite Special Air Service (SAS) personnel are not yet on standby for deployment to combat Islamic State militants in Iraq or Syria, Prime Minister John Key says, but he won’t rule out sending them if asked “as a last resort”.