7 Sep 2019

Think tank group targets Muslim council candidates

8:18 pm on 7 September 2019

A former ACT MP says she was unaware of derogatory and xenophobic remarks towards Muslims on a Facebook group she set up.

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Al Noor mosque. Photo: RNZ/ Stan McFerrier

The Facebook group for political think tank New Zealand Centre for Political Research has several threads taking aim at Muslim candidates standing in the local government elections.

Former ACT MP Muriel Newman founded the think tank in 2005.

Dr Newman said she did not know about the comments on its Facebook group.

The threads were largely in relation to two Christchurch-based Muslim community board candidates, Zahra Hussaini and Gamal Fouda.

Comments on the group called on people to not trust Muslims, and also discussed conspiracy theories about the Christchurch terror attack in March which left 51 Muslims dead.

Ms Hussaini said she was not fazed by the derogatory comments, and Mr Fouda said he had been too busy focusing on his campaign.

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