By the Grace of Allah the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at New Zealand (AMJNZ) held its annual Peace conference at the Panmure Community Centre in Auckland on 5th of November 2011. The theme for this year’s conference was ‘Peace, Loyalty and Tolerance through Religion’. More than 120 Jama’at members and 45 guests attended this meeting, including members of parliament and representatives from important government bodies working throughout New Zealand.
Introducing the AMJNZ the National President of the community, Mr Muhammed Iqbal said “If we look at the current issues facing the world today and the trend towards growing tension, discrimination, inequalities, injustices and oppression, I hope that you will agree that this topic is apt in leading us towards a better understanding and integration of our communities. It is important that we join as one to keep New Zealand free from any divisive philosophy that impedes our countries peace, stability and economic growth. By working together, we can give our families and our people a coherent, vibrant and peaceful environment to live in and prosper”.
The chief guest for the occasion, Councillor Richard Northey, delivered the message of Auckland Mayor Len Brown to the congregation, and citing examples from his previous experience explained how sometimes it can take many years to bring about a meaningful change in attitudes.
Representatives from Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam and the Sikh religion took the stage at this interfaith event and enlightened the crowd on their respective view points, explaining how religion helps to establish peace, loyalty and tolerance within society. Several speakers discussed how peace must first be established within a person before it can be extended to others.
Representing Islam was Maulana Shafiq-ur-Rehman, local missionary of the AMJNZ. Mr Rehman explained how the true teachings of Islam were based on establishing peace, and how divine guidance was necessary to achieve these goals.
Members of New Zealand parliament including Dr Jackie Blue, and Dr Rajan Prasad also addressed the gathering, and lauded the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at NZ for its efforts in bringing all the faiths together on a common platform.