Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Customs are Islamophobic and racist

Radio New Zealand this morning has appalling data on apparent Islamophobia by Customs, with kiwi Muslims being regularly stopped and searched at airports for no apparent reason other than their religion:

Members of New Zealand's Muslim community say they have been humiliated and treated like "criminals" by airport customs.

They say they are regularly stopped at Auckland Airport for hours, while their belongings are searched and their mobile phones taken off them.


On Sunday night, Muslims living in Auckland's Mount Roskill suburb gathered at Al Manar mosque to pray, celebrating the final week of Ramadan.

Between prayers, the Imam made an announcement asking those who had been stopped by New Zealand customs to come forward and share their stories.

RNZ News spoke to 11 people that night.

Unmentioned: thanks to National, Customs can give the data it pulls off those phones and digital devices straight to the police, or the SIS (who can then pass it on to their foreign masters), without any need for suspicion, let alone a warrant.

Also worth noting: this isn't the first time this issue has been raised. Its a persistent, pervasive problem of discrimination at the border. Customs, of course, denies it, pretending that there is a reason for these searches. Unfortunately, what this "reason" boils down to is Islamophobia and racism. And the net effect of it is to tell kiwi Muslims that they're not "real" New Zealanders and that the state hates them and will not let them live their lives in peace. And when you're fighting a "war on terror", that message is an extremely dangerous one to send.