The World Muslim Forum held its first conference in New Zealand on November 23, 2013 at the Aotea Centre in the Central Business District.
Government officials, Members of Parliament, Muslim leaders and a cross-section of the communities were present at the day-long conference, hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Office of Ethnic Affairs.
Ethnic Affairs Minister Judith Collins said that New Zealand was keen to maintain social cohesion, fostering fraternal bonds with the Muslim community.
“It is important that all residents and citizens of New Zealand feel that they are a part of the country, irrespective of their religious or other beliefs,” she said.
Sydney based lawyer Irfan Yusuf, Senior Fonterra Trade Consultant Kevin Geard, Meat Industry Association Chief Executive Tim Ritchie, Auckland Tourism, Events & Economic Development Limited Chief Executive Brett O’Riley, Foreign Affairs & Trade Ministry Media Liaison Officer Jonathan Curr and Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand (FIANZ) President Dr Anwar Ghani were among the main speakers.
Dr Ghani said that while acceptance of Muslims is increasing, there was room for improvement.
Forum participants discussed the significant contribution made by the Muslim community to the New Zealand economy.
Mujeeb Syed is a journalist and Secretary of the Urdu Hindi Cultural Association of New Zealand based in Auckland. He is seen here with New Zealand Police Inspector Rakesh Naidoo (left) and FIANZ Vice-President Javed Khan.