SHAFAQNA – The Muslim community in south Auckland is using its annual convention to distance itself from Islamic State (IS).
It’s concerned about the growing anti-Muslim rhetoric which stems from the bloodshed committed by the terrorist group.
Images have ignited fear in the hearts of people around the world.
Bloodshed, brutal killings and war crimes are at the hands of IS and that has Muslims here concerned.
“We see the ISIS caliphate going towards destruction, bloodshed whereas the Ahmadiyya caliphate is going more towards peace and society,” says Muslim Jama’at president Mohammed Iqbal.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim community opened its south Auckland mosque today to discuss its own philosophy, at its annual convention.
It says the origin of its caliphate — or government — is the opposite of that of IS’, and centres around love and peace.
But there’s concern their peaceful ideals could be overshadowed by the atrocities.
“It’s important than ever to reach out to other people, and tell people what Islam is actually about, and the true peaceful teachings of Islam because without raising that awareness it’s just letting that negative image overtake,” says Imam missionary Mustenser Qamar.
Hundreds attended today’s convention including MPs and race relations commissioner Susan Devoy.
“I think we have to understand that terrorism isn’t a religion,” she says. “We live in one of the most peaceful countries on earth, and as far as I’m concerned the Muslims living here are trying to enhance that.”
The Ahmadiyya Muslim community says fortunately the majority of Kiwis don’t discriminate, but believes it’s important to reinforce its true beliefs.
“We certainly haven’t had any backlash, but we are still of the belief that there’s a lot to be done to put the real message of Islam and its true teachings out there,” says Mr Iqbal