Barry Soper is Newstalk ZB's Political Editor

Barry Soper: The unthinkable can happen when hate speech is allowed to go unchecked

Some Americans are worried the President-elect Donald Trump will carry out some of the more extreme promises he made during that bitter election battle. Photo / AP
Some Americans are worried the President-elect Donald Trump will carry out some of the more extreme promises he made during that bitter election battle. Photo / AP

It's easy to dismiss the likes of the self-appointed Bishop Brian Tamaki as the fringe for his views that gays and sinners are responsible for earthquakes.

His impoverished audience is relatively small and he generally has little influence as he lives the life of Riley at their expense.

But it's another matter when a so called Islamic scholar, Mohammad Anwar Sahib, preaches his anti-Semitic and misogynistic diatribe that he's now been doing for some time.

His views aren't worth repeating because they're offensive and are potentially dangerous, considering up until yesterday he was the secretary of the advisory board to the Federation of Islamic Associations.

We've seen what's happened abroad when people like this are allowed to preach their messages of hate.

Let's just hope the removal of his authority will see his influence diminished, although that's doubtful considering he's a lecturer in Islamic law at their online university, has been the president of Islamic scholars in this country and has even advised the Government on halal issues.

Hate speech should never be tolerated in civilised society but unfortunately it seems to be more commonplace these days and is used by those who should know much better - the American Presidential race and the winner of it, Donald Trump, showed us that.

You can imagine how uneasy some Americans are today, wondering whether the President-elect will carry out the promises he made during that bitter battle.

Like drawing up a registry of Muslims living in that country that Donald Trump's advisers are now looking at and using the internment of Japanese Americans during the Second World War as their model.

George Takei remembers just a few weeks after his fifth birthday in the spring of 1942 his parents packing up the family hurriedly while they saw two soldiers out the window, marching up the driveway with bayonets fixed to their rifles.

They were loaded on to trains and for the next three years, barbed wire, sentry towers and armed guards marked their home.

George's parents were born in the United States, they were proud of their American heritage just as they were proud of their Japanese ancestry. But in the fear and mass hysteria of the time, that didn't matter.

And that's the sort of thing that can happen when hatred and intolerance overtakes the values that most of us hold dear.

- Newstalk ZB

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