Harawira apologises for bin Laden comments

Mana Party leader Hone Harawira has apologised for how he expressed himself when he painted Osama bin Laden as a freedom fighter.

In tributes on Maori-language television on Tuesday, Mr Harawira said the al-Qaeda founder and September 11, 2001 mastermind should be “honoured” rather than “damned” in death according to Maori culture.

He twice paid tribute to bin Laden in te reo, saying it was Maori custom to acknowledge the dead.

Prime Minister John Key has slammed Mr Harawira’s statement as “ridiculous” and labelled him misguided

Mr Harawira said his comments were not intended to be construed as supporting bin Laden’s actions in a statement released this afternoon.

“As Maori we do not speak ill of someone who has died even if such a person has done bad things.

“My mihi to the Bin Laden’s family was seen by some as support for Bin Laden’s actions.

“This was a mistake and was not intended. Using terror for political reasons is never acceptable.


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