Muslims to visit EVERY city of NZ in 21 days in run-up to ChCh 2nd anniversary
- Two Imams leading a nationwide drive to engage in positive discussions with the public.
- Activities involve Candid discussions over ‘Coffee, Cake and True Islam’ and ‘I’m a Muslim ask me anything’.
Two Imams will be leading a group of youth as they venture across the entire country under the banner of the nationwide ‘True Islam NZ’ campaign.
From Saturday 13th March to 3rd April 2021, the team will be stopping at different towns and cities across the country in an effort to educate the public on the true and peaceful teachings of Islam and also to build lasting friendships.
Speaking on the timing and drive behind this campaign, Imam Mustenser Qamar said:
“We’ve already seen that New Zealand is not immune to misunderstandings and extremism. As we recall the horrific events from two years ago, we remember the tragedy, the loss of life, but also the coming together of the whole nation and standing against discrimination and terror. The unity displayed was unprecedented and unseen. However, since then, there have still been racist and Islamophobic events occurring throughout the country including a recent threat to attack the same two Mosques in Christchurch. Where we need to stand together, we also feel a need to educate. Ignorance leads to misunderstandings, which can lead to negative perceptions and stereotyping. We want to continue to provide people an opportunity to meet a Muslim and also, if they wish, to ask any questions they may have about our faith.”
He further said:
“We wish to drive a counter narrative. Show people that Muslims are no different. The purpose of us holding these events and opening up is to make lasting connections, to develop friendships and allow people to ask any questions about us or our faith.”
Last year a team, led by the same two Imams, visited Nelson, Blenheim and Christchurch alongside other towns on the way. Commenting on the experience Imam Sabahuzafar said:
“We did experience some verbal abuse during our campaign. However, there were much more positives to be taken from the trip. For example, we met some people who had many questions and preferred to meet us alone. By the end of the sessions, they had completely changed their perceptions about us. We also had some people who were just intrigued about the campaign and we ended up building some lasting friendships.”
Whilst remembering the horrific mosque attacks two years ago, the National President of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community [the community behind the campaign], Mr Bashir Khan, said:
“We belong to an international community which faces state backed persecution and have had many martyrs at our mosques and some survivors have even ended up here as refugees. We are very fortunate that we enjoy freedom of faith and expression in New Zealand. Therefore, survivors from previous mosque attacks will also be part of this nationwide campaign. We believe it is important that we take action, as a community, to remove misconceptions about Islam, so that we can help make New Zealand immune to such attacks in the future. Education and friendship are important pillars in ensuring this.”
Throughout the tour, the group will be heading to the streets wearing shirts saying ‘I’m a Muslim ask me anything’ and ‘Meet a Muslim’ and hoping to engage in positive discussions. They will be arranging public ‘Coffee, Cake and True Islam’ sessions where members of the public are invited to join them over a hot drink and savouries; engage in candid and open discussions and just build friendships.
The group intend to also donate books to different public libraries and are offering free literature to those interested in learning more.
Whilst further highlighting activities of the team, the senior Imam behind the ‘True Islam NZ’ campaign, Imam Shafiq Ur Rehman, commented:
“The team will also be presenting the Kuranu Tapu [the Holy Quran translated into Te Reo Maori] to Maraes as a taonga for the tangata whenua. We’ll also be hosting a public exhibition and detailed seminars on Saturday 27th March in Cambridge.”
The team will be visiting all the main cities across the country including Queenstown, Invercargill, Dunedin, Timaru, Christchurch, Blenheim, Nelson, Whangarei, Auckland, Taupo, Napier, Hastings, Gisborne, Hamilton, Rotorua, Tauranga, New Plymouth, Wanganui, Palmerston North, Lower Hutt, Upper Hutt and Wellington.
Imam Sabahuzafar said:
“We invite everyone, whether you have questions or not, to just come and meet us. Get to know a Muslim and let’s continue to lead the world in showing how unity and friendship are part of the solution.”
More details about their tour can be found on their Facebook page ‘True Islam NZ’
True Islam NZ is a nationwide umbrella campaign being spearheaded by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community NZ. It aims to promote and highlight 11 truths about Islam, which are based on common misunderstandings. These include highlighting the truth behind the concept of ‘Jihad’ and women’s rights among others. The website www.trueislam.nz contains further details on each of the truths.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is a dynamic, fast-growing international revival movement within Islam. Founded in 1889, the Community spans 213 countries with tens of millions of members. The New Zealand branch of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community was established in 1987.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is the only Islamic organisation to believe that the long-awaited messiah has come in the person of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835-1908) of Qadian, India. Ahmad claimed to be the metaphorical second coming of Jesus of Nazareth and the divine guide, whose advent was foretold by the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad. The Community believes that God sent Ahmad, like Jesus, to end religious wars, condemn bloodshed and reinstitute morality, justice and peace. Ahmad’s advent has brought about an unprecedented era of Islamic revival and moderation. He divested Muslims of fanatical beliefs and practices by vigorously championing Islam’s true and essential teachings.
- - by Press Officer
- in news, media-release