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Even if the risk of a radical slipping through was slight, they said, what mattered most was keeping New Zealand safe.A few weeks later, that didn’t seem quite so far-fetched when three Islamist militants blew themselves up in Brussels, killing 32 bystanders and wounding more than 300.“It’s probably the most difficult part of the job, making these assessments.
And despite the public’s misconceptions, none of them will be on the next plane to Auckland.Almost three years ago, the Muslim community in Auckland welcomed me into their world with warmth, trust and open arms.Amid rising paranoia that taking in Muslim refugees from countries such as Syria would allow terrorists to slip into New Zealand, the men and women I talked to for the story republished here embraced the opportunity to share the everyday normality of their lives: meeting family and friends for a picnic in the park, coaching a school futsal team, raising children in a world where what we see, too often, are the differences that divide us rather than the shared humanity that has now brought so many people together in horror and grief. But more than a few people reckon he needs to get his priorities straight.At a recent social gathering, I’d been chatting to a group of typical Kiwi guys – middle-aged, middle-class family men – when the conversation turned to the refugee crisis.Every single one of them thought we should close the borders to Muslims.
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“These [refugees] are the people fleeing terrorism.