Muslim leaders: Don't send Kiwi SAS troops to battle ISIS

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Muslim leaders here are worried a push to send the SAS to fight ISIS-linked terrorists could fuel a backlash among the Muslim community in New Zealand.

an al-Qaida-inspired militant stands guard at a checkpoint captured from the Iraqi Army

Source: Associated Press

Speaking to Radio New Zealand, Wellington's Kilbirnie mosque's Secretary of the International Muslim Association of New Zealand, Tahir Nawaz, says supporting the fight in Iraq would be a bad idea.

"We are a very good community here, we are very co-operative," Mr Nawaz said.

"Once New Zealand troops are sent there, our public attitude could change. At the end of the day there would be people living here whose roots are in the countries where New Zealand would send the troops."

Tony Green the Secretary of the Federation of the Islamic Association of New Zealand believes more western boots on the ground would further radicalise Muslims in the west.

"That potentially fuels things because the whole martyr kind of scenario that's been painted by the groups calling themselves IS, that would fan the flames more than anything."

When asked if he believed a terror plot like the one in Australia could happen in New Zealand, Mr Green said he thought it was unlikely but there were no guarantees.

"I can't give you an answer to that, but I just pray that's not the case. I mean we're watchful, and we try to engage with the wider community. I hope it's not the case, I seriously do."

Mr Key has said that he would seek advice on sending SAS troops to Iraq if a request was made by the US for New Zealand to join the conflict.

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