CAIRO - A United Nations committee on racial discrimination has reprimanded New Zealand over inflammatory anti-Islam comments made by a lawmaker, urging the government to promote ethnic harmony and combat stereotypes and prejudices against ethnic and religious groups.
The committee regrets the recent inflammatory remarks by a Member of Parliament vilifying persons from Central Asia or the Middle East based on their skin color and country of origin as well as their religion, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination said in the New Zealand section of its latest report.
Looking into New Zealand's progress at tackling racial discrimination and inequality, the UN committee criticized inflammatory' anti-Muslim comments made by New Zealand First Richard Prosser last month.
Prosser said in a column that young people who look like Muslims or come from a Muslim country should be banned from flying on Western Airlines flights.
In his column for Investigate magazine, he said that most terrorists were Muslims.
Misogynist troglodytes from Wogistan are threatening our way of life and security of travel in the name of their stone-age religion, he wrote.
The lawmaker's comments came after his pocket knife was confiscated at Christchurch Airport.
He argues that he, as a member of parliament, should not be targeted at airports.
Prosser was reprimanded by NZ First leader Winston Peters and apologized for his remarks.
Justice Minister Judith Collins, Prime Minister John Key and MPs from all the parties in parliament condemned him for making them.
The UN committee welcomed the reaction of New Zealand government in condemning these comments.
"It welcomes the strong criticism of such statements by the Minister of Justice and Ethnic Affairs and the Race Relations Commissioner, among others," the UN statement added.
Describing the comments as counterproductive, New Zealand government said it would seriously consider UN recommendations to end anti-Islam prejudice.
"I am very pleased to say that during the review, the Committee noted New Zealand's efforts to combat racial discrimination represented many examples of best practice globally and that these would be recommended to other countries, Justice and Ethnic Affairs Minister Judith Collins told The New Zealand Herald.
Collins represented the New Zealand Government at a two-day UN committee meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, on 21 and 22 February.
She notes that Prosser's comments were found to be counter-productive to New Zealand's efforts to reduce racial discrimination.
"As an active player in the UN system, we are committed to meeting our obligations under the human rights treaties we are party to,'' said Collins.
The south-pacific island country of New Zealand is home to 36,000 Muslims, according to the 2006 census.