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“But it’s very important to realise the absolute majority [of refugees from Syria] are women, children and elderly fleeing for their lives. They’re not looking for an opportunity to cause trouble.”Journalist Jon Stephenson, who’s had extensive experience reporting in the Middle East, says Muslims who have built a life in New Zealand are very conscious of the potential threat from radicalisation.He knows of two young dissidents whose passports were confiscated after a tip-off from relatives who discovered the hapless pair were heading to Syria after they booked their flights by credit card.
A photo taken behind his house in Aleppo shows a large mosque almost rubbing shoulders with an Armenian Christian church.
The millions of Muslim refugees streaming into Europe are the lucky ones, Stephens says, because they’ve had the money and resources to get that far.
And despite the public’s misconceptions, none of them will be on the next plane to Auckland.
“These [refugees] are the people fleeing terrorism.
If you have this insane idea you should ban Muslim immigration, you’re going to generate an intense division and isolate them.