GUEST BLOG: Anjum Rahman – where’s the evidence?



It’s a common tactic, when a state wants to impinge on the civil liberties and basic rights of its people, to create a common enemy – a distraction so that people are more focused on fear of harm from the enemy than the potential harm from the state.

Currently the Government wants, amongst other things, to pass legislation allowing the SIS to conduct video surveillance on New Zealanders for up to 48 hours without a warrant.  In order to sell these measures to the public, Mr Key has claimed there are up to 80 New Zealanders who are either a threat or who need to be watched further.  Out of those 80, he hasn’t said how many are IS sympathisers, and of those how many are actually in support of violent action.  It may be that the majority on watch for extremist behaviour that may be totally unrelated to IS.  We’ve been given a firm number of 5 in Syria & 9 passports cancelled (though whether the 5 are included in the 9, it’s hard to tell, & are all 9 related to IS?)

There may or may not be evidence to support these figures.  We have no way of knowing because if it exists, it hasn’t been put in the public arena.  But in the public arena is this article splashed on the front page of the Waikato Times.  It’s titled “Our City’s Soldiers of Allah”, and the whole article is based on a Facebook group called “Soldiers of Allah”.

If you read the article, there is no actual proof that anyone has done or said anything that is of particular worry.  The article starts with “Hawke’s Bay man Te Amorangi Muhammad Kireka-Whaanga” who has been in the news for decades for his bizarre views, but who has never been arrested or convicted for anything, as far as I’m aware.  There’s little doubt that he’s been on the SIS watchlist for a long time.

The big “news” though, is that apparently 2 other men from the Waikato have “links to the page”.  One supports the notion of “an Islamic State”, but there is no evidence presented that he is in support of the kind of violent acts we’ve seen in the Middle East to achieve that aim.  The other is actually a “former Waikato man”, so not even currently living in the Waikato.  The headline therefore has an s too many, if there is only one so-called soldier living here.

The former Waikato man’s crime is to said to have put up on his own page “a post showing a Maori sovereignty flag that has been altered with Arab calligraphy running through the middle. The flag is seen pitched on a hill overlooking rows of tents in the Middle East.”  How is that even an issue?  I’m failing to see what’s scary or even threatening about that.  Is it accompanied by any words that support violence?  There is absolutely no evidence that the page “is a meeting place for radical Islamists” but the article goes on to quote security experts who tell us we should be worried anyway.

If this isn’t a beat-up, I don’t know what is.  It’s the worst kind of scare-mongering based on no evidence whatsoever, and it’s a shame that my local paper would publish such a thing.

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But even more than this, I’m so tired of the talk of “radical Islamists” and of the situation in the Iraq without any mention of the decade of sanctions that lead to the death of an estimated half a million children, followed by an illegal invasion and occupation that resulted in mass destruction of infrastructure, the disappearance of $1 trillion and yet another decade of violence with regular bombings by opposing groups.  That would probably radicalise anyone who was subjected to it.  We’re so lucky in this country that we haven’t had to suffer any of this kind of violence, but does the result have to be that we are immune to the impacts it has on the people who have?

I don’t know that radicalisation is even an appropriate word when it’s a rather predictable response to an ugly situation.  That the conflict is drawing in people in Western countries who begin to identify with the victims turned perpetrators is definitely a concern.  I don’t have a problem with people who pose a risk being put under surveillance, but we don’t need changes to the law to do it. Current laws are sufficient, and there is no way that surveillance without a warrant is in any way acceptable.

And a military response from our nation, which is not under threat and which can hope to achieve nothing at all by sending troops, is only likely to increase the number of people who are “radicalised”.

Frankly, I’m almost at the stage of hoping the legislation gets passed quickly so that we can stop the scaremongering that’s happening both by politicians and the media.  Because until it does, I suspect we’ll have to put up with more of the same and it is not without cost.  Incidents of abuse against the local community here have risen to the extent that the Human Rights Commission felt compelled to issue this statement.  I can’t imagine that the article in the Waikato Times is going to help.


Anjum Rahman. – I fit into a lot of boxes – I’m an ethnic minority (born in india), a religious minority (muslim), and a woman. I’m a mother, an accountant, a political activist and a feminist. All of these form part of my identity to a greater or lesser degree. most of all though, I’m a rebel who refuses to fit neatly into boxes or to conform to the patterns that people expect of me. 



  1. It is a pity you chose to decorate this otherwise reasoned post with “Keep calm resist Islamophobia”.

    Islamophobia is bogus term that is used mainly to shut down legitimate criticism of facets of Islam that are the antithesis of values held in liberal democracies.

    • first of all, i didn’t choose the picture, martyn did. second, i live with the impacts of islamophobia in my daily life. i’ve chosen not to share instances here but i have on my facebook page. it’s pretty insulting for you to claim it’s not real, especially when you don’t have to face it.

      • Well, do you think the picture was appropriate or not?

        You are lucky to be free to feel insulted. Unfortunately claiming to be insulted is part and parcel of the play-book of those using the victim card to shut down contrary viewpoints.

        And I am lucky to reside in a western democracy, where I won’t suffer the death penalty for insultingquestioning Islam and its associated dogma.

        As it happens, I generally agree with with your analysis of the Waikato Times article.

        I also think it is wholly justifiable, as a supporter of liberal western democratic values, to be fearful of incursion into such society of many facets of Islam, notably Sharia law and other religious and cultural dogmas.

        I will protest such incursion and do so until the Islamic world sheds its support, both overt and covert, for practices such as death and mutilation for apostasy, adultery, homosexuality and theft; as well as brutal stone age punishments like stoning to death, vile cultural practices such as female genital mutilation and honour killings that find egregious assimilation into Islamic doctrine.

        Do you regard my condemnation of these practices as Islamophobia?

        • Richard, you seem to be laying the sins of radical muslims on the shoulders of one man, because of his religion.

          Do you also lay the sins of extremist Christians or Jews or whatever on the shoulders of individuals unconnected with radicalism?

          Take care with your answer. Considering that 99.9999999999999% of rapists are men, what does that make you and me?

          • Richard, you seem to be laying the sins of radical muslims on the shoulders of one man, because of his religion.

            Pasta knows how you arrive at that, Frank.

            I’m objecting to the use of the term Islamophopia in the accompanying illustration, it seems Martyn put it there. He used the term and i’m addressing my viewpoint on it.

            It’s a term aimed at trivialising and shutting down debate. You get to point point at criticism of islam, intone indignantly that it amounts to islamophopia and Bob’yeruncle, you can claim a fictitious higher ground and avoid any debate.

            Anyway, the Waikato Times piece is irresponsible scaremongering, terrorists under the bed etc, but it’s no or very little more an anti Islam piece than an article on IRA terrorism is anti-christianity or Christianityphobic.

            In reply to your definition of the term that follows, you make an unsubstantiated supposition that fear of Islam is irrational. In my viewpoint it is entirely rational, I have no desire to live in a medieval style theocracy, which is, research tells us, what many of the “ordinary” adherents of Islam actually desire:


        • richard, i don’t mind you opposing particular practices at all. that’s not islamophobia, but what is islamophobic is when you perpetuate falsehoods and myths, and use them to hate on muslims. let me give you an example: the female genital cutting you talk about is not a muslim issue nor is it a “cultural issue” related to muslims. i’ll refer you this tweet by reza aslan that gives the facts:

          the graph shows that christians in north africa also carry out this practice and that many countries with majority muslim populations do not. similarly with honour killings: it’s not a muslim practice, though no doubt you’d be able to find some muslims trying to support it & to use religion to support it to try to justify their criminal behaviour.

          but islamophobia is more than just ignorance and spreading lies or misinformation (as the waikato times article does). it’s when i get yelled at on the street, it’s when i’m kept out of jobs or rental properties before the person has even taken the trouble to get to know me or what i believe.

          frank, i really do appreciate your comments here. just wanted to point out that i am not a man.

            • I think you’ll find a range of views on aposty that like all human constructed systems of thought and belief. Note that a lot of it seems to derive from political controls or attempts at political control such as Shogunate Japan’s move to stamp out Christianity through executions to remove a presumed tool for colonial 5th columns. Or the Christian Inquisition, the eradication of the cathars ect.

              S. A. Rahman, a former Chief Justice of Pakistan, argues that there is no indication of the death penalty for apostasy in the Qur’an.[66] W. Heffening states that in Quran “a Muslim apostate is threatened with punishment in the next world”, adding that Shafi’is interpreted verse [Quran 2:217] as adducing to the death penalty in the Qur’an. Wael Hallaq holds that nothing in the law governing apostate and apostasy derives from the letter of Quran.[93] The late dissenting Shia jurist Grand Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri stated that the Quranic verses do not prescribe an earthly penalty for apostasy.[86]

              Islamist author Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi argued that verses [Quran 9:11] of the Qur’an sanction death for apostasy. In contrast, Pakistan’s jurist S. A. Rahman states “that not only is there no punishment for apostasy provided in the Book but that the Word of God clearly envisages the natural death of the apostate. He will be punished only in the Hereafter…”[94] Rahman also highlights that there is no reference to the death penalty in any of the 20 instances of apostasy mentioned in the Qur’an.

              Mahmud Shaltut, the late Grand Imam of Al-Azhar University argued that a worldly punishment for apostasy was not mentioned in the Qur’an and whenever it mentions apostasy it speaks about a punishment in the hereafter.[95]

              Writing in the Encyclopedia of Islam, Heffening holds that contrary to the Qur’an, “in traditions [i.e. hadith], there is little echo of these punishments in the next world… and instead, we have in many traditions a new element, the death penalty.”[96] Wael Hallaq states the death penalty reflects a later reality and does not stand in accord with the deeds of the Prophet.[93]

              Ayatollah Montazeri holds that it is probable that the punishment was prescribed by Muhammad during early Islam to combat political conspiracies against Islam and Muslims, and is not intended for those who simply change their belief or express a change in belief. Montazeri defines different types of apostasy; he argues that capital punishment should be reserved for those who desert Islam out of malice and enmity towards the Muslim community, and not those who convert to another religion after investigation and research.[86] from

        • “You are lucky to be free to feel insulted. Unfortunately claiming to be insulted is part and parcel of the play-book of those using the victim card to shut down contrary viewpoints.”

          No way.

          You’ve completely missed the point.

          There is no evidence of a threat from radical Islam to NZ.

          Our government is drumming up hysteria in our population about radical Islam.

          This results in public support for a war we should not be involved in, and typical backlash by a redneck sector in NZ to people who may look Muslim.

          Yet you, a white kiwi male, will have no concept of what this feels like. So to dismiss Anjum’s indication of what this is like by calling it “claiming to be insulted” and “using the victim card” is intellectually lazy at best, and boorishly offensive at worst.

        • well yes Richard , thats exactly what your condemnation of these practises that you mention is . a very tiresome case of Islamophobia .these practises that you mention are most unpleasent , not very nice downright on the nose some of them , but to say they are Islamic on the whole is not very accurate, you havnt done your home work mate .instead of buying into this phobia you have you would be better off doing some research into the wider Islamic world .lose your fear of the other and broaden your mind its got to be good for you and . much better for world wide family harmony and understanding . Islam is a way big religion its huge Richard , for sure it has a few wallies in it but so do our western democracies.and I would sumise that with this phobia of yours you just are not seeing the forest for the open your eyes it will not do you any harm .

      • Is there such a thing a Christianphobia or Hinduphobia then? How would they manifest themselves? Is criticism of the Catholic Church’s teaching on birth control an example of Catholicphobia?

        • It is according to the bleating of fundies when laws get passed that are anathema to their birth control/abortion/euthanasia/gay marriage/bigoted teachings.

          • Exactly. People claim bias and discrimination when people stand up to their viewpoints. Standing up against viewpoints you disagree with is not bad. It should be encouraged not shut down with non logical words like Islamophobia.

    • As an infidel atheist I have scant admiration for fundamentalists of either the Christian or the Islamic variety. But I question your attempt to elevate ‘liberal democracies’ while you ignore the stream of facile propaganda in our news media. I remember all the stupid anti-communist babble (along with misguided evocations of Munich and Neville Chamberlain) that our media carried when we were debating the wisdom of the Vietnam war. I fear a similar debacle is likely in the current conflict, and suspect that enlightened liberal democracies would steer well clear of it.
      To my mind, Anjum’s article is well-written and makes fair points.

    • Islamophobia is bogus term that is used mainly to shut down legitimate criticism of facets of Islam…

      No it’s not.

      A phobia is an irrational fear of something.

      An irrational fear of Islam because of the actions of some is akin to me having a phobia of Christians because Catholics and Protestations were merrily slaughtering each other in Northern Ireland for decades, or because of the bombings and shootings of abortion clinics by Christian nutcases.

      I have no phobia of Christians just because of some who use their religious beliefs to engages in violence.

      Ditto muslims.

      • Except Christianity has been beaten down by the secular society so much that it poses little risk. Islam on the other hand has not undergone such a process. Many Muslims belong to sects which believe Islamic laws should be given a high degree of prominence in society. That is something that should be opposed by any secular minded individual whether they are from the left or the right.

          • An oath (not an affirmation) is an act of religion, and oaths are fundamental regarding the allegiance of the politicians and the judiciary to the state.

            Also, the law of the land of NZ is fundamentally theistic. However, religion plays only a minimal part in this, with reason being the basis of legal thought rather than belief or political ambition.

        • On the contrary, one of the risks of Christianity is that people adopt religious beliefs without being aware of their religious nature.

          For example, the belief that the NZ parliament is sovereign or the belief that the legislation of parliament has universal scope. The head of state of NZ has an overtly religious role, so some state dogma gets accepted on faith.

          Christianity is just as vulnerable to political corruption as Islam is.

  2. The fact that you used a bogus email address – – indicates that the inflammatory question you posed is something you’re too ashamed to put your real email address to, not to mention using a pseudonym. Anonymity, racism, and cowardice, not a particularly nice mix. – ScarletMod

  3. The comment from the HRC about our treatment of (muslim/immigrant) women and children is depressing, but it does not surprise me. One of the aspects of our (pakeha) culture that you won’t read about on an immigration pamphlet is our national sport of bullying/attacking/destroying what we perceive as the weaker party. We never learned to “play nice with the other kids”. It ain’t right or pretty, an individual can opt out of it, but on the whole it goes on, I don’t know why. As Tupac once said, fear wins over love every time. I guess that’s depressing too, or maybe not, depending on if you have religion or a philosophy to fall back on that accepts that is how the World is and affirms practical alternatives.

    Couple of months ago, in Mt Roskill, I witnessed an impromptu Peace March by local school students along Mt Albert road. I saw them at just past the Dominon road intersection heading toward Three Kings… banners and flags, smiles and general goodwill. Plenty of cars tooting as they drove past, no abuse as far as I saw it. That is an area that captures traffic from just about everywhere.

    So while living with the effects of hate and stupid can be crushing, (with far-reaching conseqeunces that have only personal solutions) maybe Harmony is making an active comeback, too. If not with those already adult and in power, but sometime soon in our collective future.

  4. Thank you for a sensible and balanced article regards Islam. For certain reasons I have known many Muslims in NZ and I find I get somewhat upset about the ignorance and sometimes down rate racism that is becoming more and more prevalent regarding this religion and the cultures commonly associated with it. We should all know by now what whipping up hate against any minority can lead to.

    • We should. Oh yes, we should.

      But we don’t learn the lessons of history. Hell, we don’t even learn history.

      I remember an instance when I was teaching in Auckland. A year 12 boy was being very disrespectful particularly to his history teacher. We called his father in, and the teacher, me, dad and son had a short meeting. The father smirked at us and told us we weren’t teaching anything of value in the school so he may as well take his son out.

      I looked out the window (this was right on the edge of south Auckland, paddocks still next to the school) at the cows eating the grass and recalled I was teaching a course of the science of dairy farming to my year 11 classes. In a country where a huge part of our economy is… dairy farming.

      The other teacher? She taught only history. According to this man, there’s absolutely no value in learning that at all.

      But so many NZers think school is a waste of time, that learning is a waste of time. Its depressing really.

      It’s not for lack of opportunity. I think our schools do a wonderful job on the whole. I do think it’s a cultural attitude in NZ against learning.

      • I remember how my schooling made a joke of teaching us about the differences between socialism and democracy by using humorous analogies involving cows.

        Perhaps if people understood the difference between the two they wouldn’t be so quick to assume that the NZ body politic was a representative democracy based on the democratic ideals that existed when the NZ state was established.

    • You mention ignorance about Islam and I will grant you that people often mistake cultural practice for religious. However I’m not sure objecting to such measures as the practice of Sharia law in places like Saudi qualify. Sharia law is well defined within the two main branches of Islam. It is hard to argue that objecting to Sharia law is being prejudiced against a cultural group. If you could explain though why it is it might be helpful.

      • Gosman, where did I say it was? Go back to my reply to Richard Christie & read the first sentence. You’re settling up a spurious argument, you’ll have to find the answer yourself. I’m on record publicly, opposing things like forcing women to wear the burqa & preventing them from driving.

        Also, you make my point about ignorance re shariah law. The Sunni “branch” as you call it has 4 established “madhab” or schools of thought, all with differing views on many, many subjects. Then there are plenty of groups that fall outside of those 4. The Shia branch has something like 70 different sects from what I’ve heard (happy to be corrected).

        So for you to ignore that fact & to ignore the evolving nature of shariah & fiqh does fall under the category of Islamophobia. Your opposition to its application in Saudi Arabia does not.

        But I notice that in none of your comments do you actually care to discuss the topic of the post ie the beat up in this article, the scaremongering & misleading information put out by this government (see Andrea Vance’s excellent piece on the Stuff website) or the harassment & bullying of Muslim women & children. The latter totally coming under the definition of Islamophobia.

      • i’ll add further to my last comment that when disagreeing about the implementation of sharia in saudi arabia, if you were to draw any conclusion about all saudis or a generalisation about islam, then yes that would make you islamophobic and most likely racist as well. because you would be failing to acknowledge all the brave women who have been risking jail in fighting the driving ban for example, and the men who are supporting them. and you would be failing to acknowledge the political situation, in that it is a regime that is incredibly repressive and does not tolerate any attempts to remove the monarchy. and that it is able to carry out such repression because it is strongly enabled to do so by western countries, and in fact the saudi ruling elite has strong ties to the american ruling elite. not only that, but actually there is no basis in shariah for refusing to allow women to drive. so if you were to draw any such broad generalisations while failing to acknowledge the wider geo-political, social, cultural and historic factors in the implementation of such laws, then i would call that islamophobic. and that’s not an attempt at silencing, it’s a conclusion based on a person’s unwillingness to gain an indepth understanding of a situation before making ignorant, discriminatory & yes sometimes willfully malicious comments.

        i’m not saying that person is you. i have engaged with you in good faith here. however, i know your history of commenting both here and on the standard. i’ve seen you attempt to derail and misdirect discussions, refuse to respond to what’s said to you and go off on another tangent in order to do the same.

        so, this is the last bit of engagement on the subject that you will be getting from me, because as i said in my comment above, none of this deals with the actual topic of my post.

        • however, i know your history of commenting both here and on the standard. i’ve seen you attempt to derail and misdirect discussions, refuse to respond to what’s said to you and go off on another tangent in order to do the same.


  5. I also noted on a Matt MacLean TV One News report this weekend that the numbers are already being fudged. The 40 considered a threat and 40 of interest was misstated as 80 total who were a threat. This is how these numbers are misused to overstate the flimsy case for invasive surveillance practices. I’m sure that article will subsequently be quoted by other lazy news outlets and the original figures forgotten.

    Leaving aside whether it’s either 40 or 80, this is less than 0.001% of the New Zealand population. So the government is stating a purported threat from far less than a percent of the population and they can’t even keep the supposed problem under control with existing legislation? Instead they need to smear a whole community to raise fear among the general populace and provide a hate-figure so they can rush through new powers which are among the clearest breach of civil liberties that there can be.

    There are people who are extremists, there are probably some who even support the violent atrocities which IS is carrying out. Some of these people *might* by muslim. However, even if they are this doesn’t mean that an entire community needs to be tarred with the same brush. It’s shameful, I had hoped New Zealand was above this kind of unfounded prejudice.

  6. Why do people cling to idea of some dude in the clouds prescribing their lives for them, anyway? That’s the one I want answered

  7. Being wary of Islam is not Islamophobia or racism. It is a reaction to a political, legal and religious ideology that is not compatible with our western way of life.

    Under the principles of Taqqiya it is very hard to know if we are hearing the truth from the Islamic community.

    Quran 3:28 enjoins Muslims not to take the company of non-Muslims over Muslims unless as a means of safeguarding themselves. “Let not the believers take those who deny the truth for their allies in preference to the believers – since he who does this cuts himself off from God in everything – unless it be to protect yourself against them in this way…”

    • Toasty – I could show you a whole bunch of similar quotes from the Christian Bible that are equally nasty and aggressive to non-believers. In fact, if Christians took the word of the Bible literally, there’d be wholesale slaughter in our streets.

      I’m sure there are passages in both the Bible and Quran that followers from both religions give lip service to, but don’t take literally.

      • Are you working out of the old or the new testament there, Frank, I never really got past the bit that said god created the world in 6 days.

      • The difference is that the New Testament superseded the old testament in many Christian’s views and it is very difficult to find abhorrent passages from that. Have you ever studied Islam Frank?

        • The difference is that the New Testament superseded the old testament in many Christian’s views

          Really? In which case why is the “redundant” version published in the same tome as the “newer” version, and given equal weight. After all, the ten commandments are in the Olds Testament, are they not? And our entire justice system is based on at least half of those Commandments.

        • You might need to study Christianity a bit

          Barr, David L. (2006). The reality of Apocalypse: rhetoric and politics in the book of Revelation. Society of Biblical Literature.

          I like that you hateful genocidal stuff in the bible does not count in-spite of being you know included in the bible. Never mind actual “christian conduct” in the crusades and colonialism.

          Or that Grenke claims that the view or war expressed in Deuteronomy contributed to the destruction of Native Americans and to the destruction of European Jewry. Grenke, Arthur, God, greed, and genocide: the Holocaust through the centuries, New Academia Publishing, LLC, 2005.

          But hay bit’s labeled the new testament are ambivalent so stopped the christian (really human, I’m not sure religion can be a direct caulal effect as it’s modified by cultures and their viewpoints) backed horror show.

          “Discussing the influence of Christian beliefs on the destruction of the Native peoples in the Americas, Stannard argues that while the New Testament view of war is ambiguous, there is little such ambiguity in the Old Testament. He points to sections in Deuteronomy in which the Israelite God, Yahweh, commanded that the Israelites utterly destroy idolaters whose land they sought to reserve for the worship of their deity (Deut 7:2, 16, and 20:16-17). … According to Stannard, this view of war contributed to the .. destruction of the Native peoples in the Americas. It was this view that also led to the destruction of European Jewry. Accordingly, it is important to look at this particular segment of the Old Testament: it not only describes a situation where a group undertakes to totally destroy other groups, but it also had a major influence on shaping thought and belief systems that permitted, and even inspired, genocide.” (2005 Grenke p17,18)

  8. Great article. I think some commentators are missing the point. We live in a democracy so you should be allowed to put your views across. People from Israel can hate Palestine, People who are Muslim can hope for a Muslim state. Maori can hope for a change to our country. It’s normal. What is not normal is singling out a few people who have a face book page and indicating they are some sort of threat and changing legislation for no reason to spy on 4 million innocent NZer’s and take away NZ civil liberty. By taking people’s rights you actually incite more violence. You can not win these wars apart from by diplomatic means. Look at Northern Ireland, Iraq etc. If you want peace you need a peaceful solution. I don’t think that Iraq can be called a success but Northern Ireland was.

  9. I’m afraid this government is reasoning like twelve year-olds again. If only 80 people in NZ believe that Key should be put to death I would be very surprised – certainly no religious element is necessary to conclude that NZ presently suffers under its worst government in over a century.

    I’m in Saudi at present, and frankly Sharia law is a lot less problematic than the horrific fusion of dishonesty and incompetence that characterises the Key government. And no, I am not a Muslim, nor am I likely to become one.

    • How many women do you see getting round at the wheel of a car. Sharia law probably isn’t much of an issue for males

      • Perhaps it should be seen as a slow evolution, Raegun.

        After all, let’s not forget that women in Switzerland only achieved universal federal voting rights as late as 1971.

        And in the USA there is a strong resistance to women having full control of their bodies regarding abortion rights.

        I suspect that in a hundred years’ time, our great great grandchildren will look back at early 21st century Western society and find much fault with us, with regards to women’s equality.

        Take for example the fact that men still dominate politics, the boardrooms, and generally earn more than women…

        • Agree with it all, but they are a looooooong way behind and the punishment sure don’t fit the crime. I’m afraid that in a male dominated society things will move at such a pace that will make you wonder why your garden snails are not creating sonic booms. And if the likes of you or me keep our traps shut about it then they will carry on their merry way.
          As for Switzerland, well, apart from the punishment thing, pretty much ditto. That was binding referenda that slowed that lot down, sometimes you just need someone to kick the door down, a bit like gay marriage here, get on with and damn the outcry from the homophobes.

      • They’re pretty tolerant if you don’t proselytise.

        Woman’s rights are trailing, but at present they are making honest efforts to internationalise. These things take generations – as LGBT rights may in the Pacific Islands.

        As for the strength of puishments, I’d kind of like to see Key lose a hand for asset thefts, another for stealing Hubbard’s millions, and his head for recidivism and stealing state houses.

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