The Ahmadiyya Muslim community in New Zealand received kudos from a number of political and community leaders and officials at the Silver Jubilee celebrations of the Auckland based Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at New Zealand Inc held last month.
Human Rights Commissioner David Rutherford was the chief guest at event held at Mt Eden War Memorial Hall on March 24.
Among the others present were Members of Parliament Phil Goff (Labour), Richard Prosser (New Zealand First), government officials and community and religious leaders from several ethnic groups.
Mr Rutherford paid tributes to the Ahmadis, saying that their efforts to promote peace and interfaith dialogue in New Zealand and other parts of the world were commendable.
“It is important to acknowledge the Ahmadiyya community because nothing in the world changes unless such organisations come forward to address issues, interact with people and foster goodwill and understanding,” he said.
Mr Goff said that he was inspired by the Ahmadiyya belief in harmonious and tolerant relationship between peoples.
Referring to recent incidents in Pakistan, in which some Ahmadis were reportedly tortured, he said, “It is deeply concerning that people are being persecuted on the basis of their religious beliefs.”
Mohammed Iqbal, National President of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at, said that his community categorically rejected any form of terrorism or oppression.
“More than 100 years ago, our Founder and Leader Mirza Ghulam Ahmad declared that an aggressive ‘jihad by the sword’ has no place in Islam. In its place, he taught his followers to wage a bloodless, peaceful and intellectual ‘jihad of the pen’ to defend Islam. As part of its effort to revive Islam, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community continues to spread his teachings of moderation and restraint in the face of bitter opposition from parts of the Muslim world,” he said.
Kiwis in need
According to him, the Ahmadiyya community has also been involved in restoring the livelihood of fellow New Zealanders affected by natural disasters. He cited the Christchurch earthquakes and the Pike River Mine tragedy as recent examples.
“The secret of success of the Ahmadiyya community is its total obedience to Prophet Mohammed and his ardent Reformer, Ahmad and his successors. Over a century ago, Ahmad reminded his followers of God’s promise to safeguard the message of Islam through khilafat (the spiritual institution of successor to Prophet), since only spiritual succession can uphold the true values of Islam and unite humanity,” he said.
Mr Iqbal said that the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at, established in Qadian (India) in 1889, is an international revival movement within Islam.
“Today the community is present in most countries with several million members. The New Zealand branch was established in 1987. This is the only Islamic organisation that believes in the arrival of the (late) Mirza Ghulam Ahmad as ‘The second coming of Jesus of Nazareth and the Divine Guide, whose advent was foretold by the Prophet Mohammed,” he said.
Further information about the community can be obtained from Eqbal Khan, Head of External Affairs on 021-1336146; Email: email@example.com; or Bashir Khan (Media Desk) on 021-778425; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org