Green MP Keith Locke has written to Corrections Minister Paul Swain to ask that Ahmed Zaoui be allowed to deliver a lecture in person at the University of Auckland tomorrow.
If he is absent, Mr Zaoui’s ‘Clash of Civilisations: Myth or Reality?’ lecture will be delivered by Professor Andrew Sharp. The speech and subsequent panel discussion and question time will explore how September 11 has affected the West’s perception of Islam. Ahmed Zaoui is a former Professor of Comparative Religion.
“It wouldn’t be difficult for Mr Swain to enable Mr Zaoui’s attendance,” said Mr Locke, the Green Party’s Foreign Affairs Spokesperson.
“Mr Zaoui has previously left prison, accompanied by a prison officer, to attend court hearings.
“The many people expected to attend the event would obviously like him to present so they can hear what he has to say and have the opportunity to ask him their questions.
“Mr Zaoui deserves to be accommodated in this way because of the unique nature of his detention. He is like no other inmate. He has no charge against him and has not been sentenced. He is not an asylum seeker detained while his refugee status is determined because he already has refugee status.
“In the recent Crown vs Television New Zealand case the Court of Appeal determined that Mr Zaoui should be able to address his views directly to the New Zealand public. Consequently, Mr Zaoui should be allowed to realise his court-recognised rights and deliver this lecture in person.
“I visited Mr Zaoui this morning and he told me he would appreciate this opportunity,” said Mr Locke.