There is simply no other way to describe Winston Peters' latest attempt at whipping up fear and hatred of immigrants for political gain. But rather than scapegoating asians, he's now moved on to demonising Muslims, accusing them of being "two faced" and liberal Muslims of acting as a front for fanatics. The latter is purely guilt by association, as can be seen if we run a parallel argument on a different religion. Are liberal Christians (and there are many) really acting as a front for Pope Tamaki? And are New Zealand's Catholics all working "hand in glove" with Opus Dei? These are utterly outrageous propositions, yet Winston has no problem running a similar line on Muslims, and tarring an entire religion with the brush of a few maniacs.
Winston's speech is nothing but religious bigotry, and it has absolutely no place in the liberal and tolerant New Zealand Peters purports to support. But then, Winston isn't really interested in that liberal and tolerant New Zealand; instead, he's interested in scaring the bejesus out of old people so they'll vote for him. And if this means inciting religious hatred and promoting religious discrimination, then that's just the price he's willing to have others pay to get him elected.
Yes, there will be extremists among New Zealand's Muslim community - but if we want to prevent those memes from spreading, then the last thing we should be doing is trying to ghettoise Muslims. Arguably, that's also one of the reasons extremism has spread in the UK - because of the widespread prejudice against Muslims. There's nothing like having your windows broken every week by the BNP or being racially abused on the streets to cause a community to withdraw into itself and to stop thinking of their neighbours as fellow citizens whose lives are valuable.
We are a better place than that, dammit. One of the things we are supposed to stand for is the idea that we can all live together. It seems to work quite well - but I suspect Winston would look at this woman and see another "direct threat" to the Christian faith (!) rather than a fellow kiwi.
But what really, really gets my goat is that while spewing this hatred, Winston is claiming to uphold our values of tolerance. And in the name of "protecting" freedom of religion, he is proposing turning potential immigrants away solely on the basis of their faith (and regardless in fact of the actual views they hold). This is precisely the religious intolerance that Winston says "has no place in New Zealand". But I guess he thinks that it only applies to old white people...
Update: Tze Ming Mok does her nut here.