Sonny Bill Williams has so far not responded to a comment made by broadcaster Murray Deaker about his religion. Williams is a Muslim.
In February, Deaker declared on Sky TV that he did not like Williams: “He is a Muslim, in a so-called Christian country, and that makes me uncomfortable.”
Sky will not release the Deaker on Sport episode in which the remark was made without his permission.
Dion Nash who was on the panel when Deaker made his comment said he believed Deaker “got carried away with the moment”.
“What he said was he couldn’t understand, he was struggling to understand where Sonny Bill Williams was coming from, and then he listed a whole lot of things … one of the things was he was a Muslim living in a Christian country.”
Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand president Anwar Ghani said Sky and Deaker should release the programme as he would like to see it.
“It is very sad to hear somebody of his intellect can make such a comment. It is a bit unprofessional.”
Last year Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand senior vice-president Javed Khan said he was unhappy that an All Black was not listed among the world’s 500 most influential Muslims: ”Sonny Bill Williams is probably the most famous Muslim in New Zealand and, in a Rugby World Cup year, has brought the faith to prominence. I think the only reason he was not included in the list is because these people are not aware of the existence of New Zealand’s Muslim superstar and we’ll be writing to them to make sure he’s there next year.”
News category: New Zealand.