Lincoln Tan in the Herald reports:
A government office promoting ethnic diversity has pulled support from a multi-ethnic carnival over pictures it deemed offensive to Muslims – without apparently consulting Islamic groups.
The Office of Ethnic Affairs said “highly inappropriate” pictures on the website of the Auckland International Carnival, including scantily clad Cook Islands and Brazilian dancers, would upset Muslims and called for the office’s logo to be removed from promotional material.
What is interesting is how the PC bureaucrats in Wellington have decided that the sensitivities of one religion out strip the cultural traditions of all other cultures, and even worse make this decision without even consulting anyone.
The Islamic federation said the office had appeared to reach its decision without consultation.
Javed Khan, the federation’s senior vice-president, said such pictures might be viewed as inappropriate but many Muslims also would respect that the way the dancers were dressed “was part of their culture”.
“We have not made any complaints, and I am not aware of any Muslim groups who did,” Mr Khan said.
Bravo to Javed Khan. I have said many times that I think we are fortunate in NZ that the senior leadership of the Islamic community is moderate and they are good ambassadors for their community.
A director of the company behind the festival, Patrick Iwobi, said the organisers were deeply disappointed “that officials at a Government agency, meant to support ethnic people in New Zealand, is hell-bent on destroying the reputation of those who are trying to put together an ethnic event”.
Carnival organiser Jocelyn Sasa says dealing with the Office of Ethnic Affairs had been “a nightmare”, but there was no plan to remove its logo.
“It will cost us $20,000 to replace all the promotional materials. We just don’t have that kind of money and the OEA says they will not pay the cost, so their logo stays.”
Can I suggest that Minister Pansy needs to bash some heads together in the Office of Ethnic Affairs.