A plan to have a Muslim cleric say a prayer at an Anzac Day service has been cancelled after the local RSA received a number of "frightening threats".
The Returned and Services Association (RSA) branch at Titahi Bay near Wellington wanted to honour the victims of the Christchurch terror attack by including a Muslim prayer in their service.
However, the idea came with severe backlash from veterans who said the special day should remember only New Zealand and Australian soldiers who have died in wars.
Others, such as Afghanistan war veteran and organiser of the Titahi Bay service Simon Strombom, believed it was an opportunity to rise up to becoming an inclusive nation.
Strombom said it was "hugely disappointing" that it had come to this stage and he was shocked at the abusive messages they had been receiving from Australia and across New Zealand.
"We can't guarantee certain speakers' safety with the amount of comments we've had coming in online which are clearly directed at Muslim hatred. It's absolutely unbelievable.
"After speaking with police and our Muslim community we have decided that including the prayer would be too risky so for security reasons we have decided to cancel the idea," he said.
Vietnam veteran Dave Brown, a former manager of the nearby Porirua RSA, emailed the Titahi Bay branch protesting against its initial decision to invite Newlands Mosque imam Mohamed Zewada to say a prayer at its dawn service on Titahi Bay Beach.
"What took place in Christchurch was shocking and we all agree that it was completely out of order in every way," Brown said.
"I believe that the appropriate measures have been taken to recognise that and to show the Muslim community that they are part of us and we are part of them.
"Anzac Day came about to recognise all those who went overseas and served their country and returned, and those who never returned. That is the significance and the only justification for Anzac Day, and I feel it should stay that way."
Strombom said all the talk of New Zealand being "all one" was rubbish.
"I think it's disappointing for the country that in the cold harsh reality of light we've had a lot of racist people in our country," Strombom said.
The ordeal was making Strombom think Anzac day as a whole needed a rethink.
"I think the whole country needs to have a hard think - are we actually being inclusive or are we perpetuating the past?"
RSA national president B J Clark called the threats "unacceptable" and said the association did not condone that kind of behaviour.
"We do not stand for this nonsense and it was disappointing to see."
Clark said it was up to each local RSA as to whether they included "something different" in their service or not.
"Our national body offers advice but we have no authority over local RSAs, nor would be want to," Clark said.
He said he wasn't aware of any other RSA including a Muslim prayer in their service.