Dunno if Richard is ever a Dick, but he is bearded – and lots of Muslims are bearded too

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The bloke pictured above would be allowed to fly on Western airline planes, if we followed the advice of New Zealand First MP Richard Prosser.

The young woman pictured right – a young Muslim woman – would be left on the ground.

Dunno which one you would rather sit with on a flight, but Alf rather fancies travelling with the young woman because he is not so sure the bloke above is too strong in the personal hygiene department.

It’s a pity she does not pass muster under Prosser’s proposed travel rules, intended to make flying safe.

CORRECTION: Alf is guilty of being a bit hasty.

Prosser has written a column, apparently, in which he suggested no young Muslims should be allowed to travel on Western airlines because most terrorists are Muslim.

But he was referring to male Moslems. The young woman pictured here would not be caught in his net.

So let’s read on…

It’s a funny thing about our impressions of who are terrorists and who are not.

There was a time not so long ago when Alf would have been unhappy about travelling with some Irish people, because they were apt to do a bit of terrorising, and blow up people, too, including Lord Mountbatten, a second cousin of the Queen. Getting that close to Her Majesty raised Alf’s dander more than somewhat.

But Prosser is gunning – so to speak – for Muslims, as you will find here.

The Waimakariri list MP made the comments in a column for Investigate magazine.

He said he accepts that most Muslims are not terrorists, but it’s “equally undeniable” that “most terrorists are Muslims”.

Prosser happens to be bearded, and Alf is very wary of blokes who hide behind beards, although he is not in a position to assert that most people who wear beards are Muslims, and therefore he is constrained from claiming that anyone wearing a beard should be regarded as a Muslim and treated accordingly.

But he does observe that Prosser happens to be aged around 45, and (while saying he wants an end to “pandering to an upstart minority”) the flying ban he proposes would apply only to younger Muslims.

“If you are a young male, aged between say about 19 and about 35, and you’re a Muslim, or you look like a Muslim, or you come from a Muslim country, then you are not welcome to travel on any of the West’s airlines,” he wrote in his Eyes Right column in Ian Wishart’s Investigate magazine.

The important thing here is that he has exempted people of his own age.

If (as he says) “most terrorists are Muslims”, why slap a constraint only on some of them and leave the rest free to fly?

Including those in his own age bracket?

Alf will put the question to him next time we meet, which might be after Question Time today.

But regardless of his answer, it’s fair to say he has a colourful way of expressing himself.

Later in the article he added: “I will not stand by while [his daughters'] rights and freedoms of other New Zealanders and Westerners, are denigrated by a sorry pack of misogynist troglodytes from Wogistan.”

The 9/11 hijackers were Muslims, as were the London “tube bombers”, Mr Prosser said, along with the Taliban and al-Qaida.

“There is a pattern here, I promise you,” he writes. “These are angry, young Muslim men who hate the West and want to destroy it.

“They attack us, and our institutions and infrastructures, and our way of life, and our values and beliefs and precepts, because we are not like them, and for no other reason.”

Dunno if this means they grow out of it, when they get a bit older.

The NZ Herald people hasn’t bother to explore the meaning of Prosser’s beard (which, let’s face it, could indicate he is Jewish or Sikh or a scruff).

But Mrs Grumble dipped into Wikipedia and learned (here) –

In the Islamic tradition, God commanded Abraham to keep his beard, shorten his moustache, clip his nails, shave the hair around his genitals, and shave his armpit hair.[46] However, as for the Islamic verdict on the beard, this has produced three Islamic opinions:

1) Growing the beard is an obligation and shaving it is forbidden. This opinion is championed by Ibn Hazm and Ibn Taimiya among others.

2) Growing the beard in mandub (desirable) and shaving it is makruh (undesirable). This opinion is championed by Ibn Hanbal, Ibn Qudamah, Imam Shirazi, Imam Shawkhani, Imam Nawawi and Qadi (judge) Iyad among others.

3) Growing and shaving the beard is mubah (permitted), which is the opinion of Qadi Abu Bakr Ibn al-Arbi and Imam Qurtabi.

It is not permitted to remove any part of the beard because of the general meaning of the texts which forbid doing so

While the Herald overlooked the matter of the beard, it did point out that Prosser got 538 votes in the Waimakariri electorate at the last election.

That’s not exactly a ringing endorsement of support from the good people of that region.

But hey – thanks to the magic of MMP, he swept into Parliament as a list MP on the strength of the revival in party leader Winston Peters’ political fortunes.

Alf hasn’t taken much notice of him since then.

But he has come to the attention of our Minister for Ethnic Affairs and Justice, who is Minister Responsible for the Human Rights Commission for good measure.

That’s Judith Collins, who says (here) comments by Prosser are extremely disappointing and may cause international embarrassment for New Zealand.

“New Zealand values diversity and prides itself on being an inclusive society.

“Muslims in New Zealand are also a diverse community – it is simply appalling to profile people based on their religion, skin colour, country of origin, or a perceived stereo-typed ‘look’ as Mr Prosser has done.

“Mr Prosser’s anti-Muslim rant has let New Zealand down and as a Member of Parliament he should know better.

“New Zealand First Leader, Winston Peters, needs to do much more than to hide his MP – he needs to explain why Mr Prosser’s behaviour is acceptable to New Zealand First.

“The Office of Ethnic Affairs works closely with the Muslim community in New Zealand – a community that denounces terrorism and has vowed to work with authorities to counter any terrorism threat.”

And so on.

Wonder what she would look like, if she grew a beard.

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