Hundreds of Ahmadi Muslims are gathering in Manukau for the 22nd Annual Conference on Saturday January 29.
Mr Mohammad Iqbal, National President of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, believes that it is time that acts of terrorism were publicly condemned by a Muslim organisation and an explanation given as to why these acts are un-Islamic and have been denounced by the Holy founder of Islam, Prophet Muhammad.
“It is high time to remind the world that the purpose of any religion is to spread peace, tolerance and understanding, notwithstanding the abuse of religion at the hands of fanatics who make it an excuse for violence and the spread of terror, both inside and outside the faith,” Mr Iqbal says.
In a special session for guests and delegates starting at 10:30am, central missionary Maulana Shafiq-ur-Rahman will address this issue and explain why Islam really is a religion of equality and justice.
“Islam is a faith whose cornerstone in national as well as international affairs is absolute justice,” Mr Rahman says. “In all dealings a Muslim should act with respect, honesty and fairness towards others. This is the basic underlying commandment.”
Leading up to this event has been the ongoing "Muslims for peace" initiative which has involved a series of peace events throughout 2010 as well as community members hitting the pavement throughout Auckland and letting people know that Islam is not the violent religion it has been labelled as.
"In Papatoetoe alone members of our community have distributed about 5000 pamphlets with messages of peace and the feedback has been phenomenal," Mr Rahman says.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is a religious organisation, international in its scope. It is acknowledged worldwide for its sincere efforts to promote peace.
“We are a community of peace, even in the face of adversity as we experienced last year when two of our mosques were attacked in Pakistan and continue to face throughout the world. By spreading a message of peace, we can extinguish the flames of hatred,” Mr Iqbal adds.
The annual convention is celebrated internationally with tens of thousands of participants in countries including Australia, United Kingdom , Germany, Canada and the United States of America.
“The primary purpose of this convention is to help people personally experience religious benefits and enhance their knowledge,” Mr Iqbal says. “Our aim is to educate people on the true teachings of Islam in order to lessen ignorance and by extension violence, misunderstanding and mistrust.”
The convention will be held at 20 Dalgety Drive, Manukau on Saturday, January 29 starting at 10:30am. The event is open to the public with refreshments and lunch provided by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.