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Muslim Presence in New Zealand Ends Military Traditions

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World War I War (1914 – 1918) remains the costliest conflict in terms of Australian deaths and casualties. From a population of fewer than five million, 416,809 men enlisted, of whom more than 60,000 were killed and 156,000 wounded, gassed, or taken prisoner.

ANZAC is the acronym for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. In total, 550 nurses served with the New Zealand Expeditionary Force, and many others enlisted in the United Kingdom. Around 18,000 New Zealanders died in or because of the war, and about 41,000 men were listed as wounded. More than 2,700 died at Gallipoli and almost 12,500 on the Western Front.

 Over 993,000 Australians served in the armed forces during World War II. Of those on active service, 27,073 were killed in action or died, 23,477 were wounded, and 30,560 were taken prisoner of war. Of those taken prisoners, 8296 died in captivity.

Quick facts and figures: The population of New Zealand in 1940 was about 1,600,000. About 140,000 New Zealand men and women served, 104,000 in 2NZEF, the rest in the British or New Zealand naval or air forces. Fatal casualties during the conflict numbered 11,928 (Commonwealth War Graves Commission figures).

Now, fearing a Muslim backlash to anti-Muslim feeling currently sweeping New Zealand, and the state’s desperation to mollify the growing Muslim communities, many Anzac Day commemorations have been annulled. The Returned Services Association (RSA) in West Auckland, on the North Island, said it will not be holding commemorations on April 25. Helensville RSA president Les Coste said events had been axed following concerns over counter actions to the Christchurch mosque shootings that left 50 people dead.

The total number across Auckland will be reduced from 84 last year to 26 this year after appeals by spineless police, who as in Europe put Muslims before Christian traditions: “It is with regret that we have had to cancel the Helensville Anzac Day events for this year only,” Mr. Coste said in a Facebook post. “All West Auckland RSAs have also cancelled their local events “Due to government policy only selected sites are suitable.”

Mr. Coste said he and police officers had inspected potential sites for the service but the police claimed they did not meet safety standards. Police chiefs last week called for fewer Anzac Day events to be held in the city. The total number reduced from 84 last year to 26 this year, allowing officers.

Auckland City district commander Superintendent Karyn Malthus said a reduced number would make it easier for police to maintain the safety of people. “Consolidating events for this year’s commemorations enables police to ensure that resources are deployed appropriately across services,” she said.

However, she did not have information to suggest there was a specific risk to the safety of the public. “There is no information about a specific threat to ANZAC events at this time,” she said.

Meanwhile, a New Zealand veteran of the country’s Afghanistan campaign has scrapped plans to have a Muslim prayer included in his local Anzac Day service. Simon Strombom, organiser of the Tatahi Bay service, said he received “frightening threat” over his proposal for a Muslim cleric to read a prayer, reports the New Zealand Herald.

“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,” Mr. Strombom said. Following consultation with the local Muslim community and police the planned prayer was scrapped, he said.


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