Auckland, January 18, 2020
Interfaith dialogue and interaction, love and tolerance are important in every society and more in a multicultural country such as New Zealand, Ethnic Communities Minister Jenny Salesa has said.
Hate speeches and divisive comments in the name of nationalism or any other cause have no place in a civilised societies, she added.
Compassion in tragedy
“The Christchurch massacre on March 15, 2019 was the result of hatred, which is alien to us in New Zealand. The love and unity shown by our communities in the aftermath of that tragedy are important to all of us. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern led the country through those difficult times through understanding, compassion and sympathy,” she said.
Ms Salesa was speaking at the guest session of the 31st Annual Convention of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at NZ Inc at its Majid Baitul Muqueet complex in the South Auckland suburb of Wiri this afternoon (January 18, 2020).
She was among the Guests of Honour along with Wally Mitchell, St John Canterbury District Operations Manager and Psychologist Adele Saunders at the meeting, attended by Members of Parliament Michael Wood, Priyanca Radhakrishnan (Labour) and Jami-Lee Ross (Independent) and members of the Hindu, Christian and Sikh communities.
Ms Salesa said that the theme of the guest session was appropriate and that unity and compassion are imperative for all New Zealand.
Ethnic Communities Development Fund
“We have invested $7 million towards ‘Safer Communities’ and we have made available additional sum $4 million every year towards the Ethnic Communities Development Fund. New Zealand values all peoples, irrespective of their country of origin, religious or other beliefs, language and all other considerations. We value our Muslim people and I have engaged with Muslim women and Muslim youth to assure them that we as a government will not tolerate hatred or hate speeches,” she said.
Ms Salesa said that terrorism should be eliminated, the primary step towards which is to eliminate hate speeches from all modes of communications.
“As a measure of fostering the spirit of unity and compassion, we will host a conference or seminar involving four major and different religious groups this year,” she said.
Among the other speakers were Mr Mitchell, Ms Saunders, Imam Mustenser Qamar, Imam Abdul Quddus Arif, President, Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association United Kingdom and Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at NZ Inc National President Bashir Ahmed Khan.
Imam Mustenser spoke about slavery, its abolition and its re-emergence in some societies in the form of discrimination, racism and other divisive practices.
“Racist elements can be found in all countries of the world. It exists in one form or the other. Racism is against the principles and teachings of Islam. The Holy Quran says that everyone – people who are Muslims and followers of other religions and even non-believers are equal in the eyes of Almighty Allah,” he said, in his speech titled, ‘From a Single Soul.’
The two-day annual meeting is known in the Ahmadiyya community as ‘Jalsa Salana.’
Mr Khan said that the guest session is also held every year to provide an opportunity for the wider community to hear about some relevant topical issues facing New Zealand today linked with Islam.
“This meeting is a part of the efforts of the Ahmadiyya community encourage dialogue and to increase understanding between all faith groups,” he said.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is a dynamic, fast-growing international revival movement within Islam. Founded in 1889 by Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835-1908) in Punjab, India, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community spans over 210 countries with membership exceeding tens of millions.
Its motto of ‘Love for all and hatred for none’ is evidenced through the peaceful actions of its millions of followers.
The New Zealand branch of this community was established in 1987. It is a registered charitable organisation and endeavours to be an active and integrated community within New Zealand society.