Adam Bennett

Adam is a political reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

Muslim MP denies killer's claim

Dr Ashraf Choudhary. Photo / NZ Herald
Dr Ashraf Choudhary. Photo / NZ Herald

Labour MP Ashraf Choudhary has dismissed Norwegian mass killer Anders Breivik's suggestion he "struggles" with being the only Muslim MP in a country the gunman saw as relatively free of Islamic influence.

Breivik, who has admitted shooting dead 69 people at a summer camp for the youth wing of Norway's ruling Labour Party, made the statement in a "manifesto".

It also contained part of a speech by Australian historian Keith Windschuttle at Punga Cove in the Marlborough Sounds in 2006.

Hours before the Utoya Island massacre and car bomb attack in Oslo which killed a further eight people, he emailed his manifesto to 1003 people.

He wrote that Dr Choudhary struggled with his role as sole Muslim representative in Parliament, and "will not condemn the traditional Koran punishment of stoning to death some homosexuals and people who have extramarital affairs ... But [he] assures that he is not advocating the practice in the West."

Dr Choudhary was reluctant to comment on the matter yesterday, saying he found it bizarre he was mentioned and that Breivik was a terrorist whose actions should be condemned.

He told the Herald he did not find being New Zealand's sole Muslim MP a struggle and he took pride in that role.

Breivik appears to have picked up on reports of Dr Choudhary's response to questions during a 2005 television interview.

In it he was asked whether "the Koran is wrong to recommend that gays in certain circumstances be stoned to death".

He replied: "No, no. Certainly what the Koran says is correct.

"In those societies, not here in New Zealand," he added.

Included in Breivik's bizarre rant was his plan for a new economic zone - after the expulsion of Islam - where Europe, the United States, Russia, New Zealand, Canada, Australia and Israel would have certain privileges.

- additional reporting NZPA

- NZ Herald

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