NZ Imams Lead Country-Wide Roadshow ahead of Mosque Attacks Anniversary

11:25 - March 08, 2021
News ID: 3474188
TEHRAN (IQNA) – Islamic leaders are visiting every city in New Zealand around the second anniversary of the Christchurch mosque terror attacks as part of a True Islam NZ campaign.


Two imams will be leading a group of youth across the country in an effort to "educate the public on the true and peaceful teachings" of Islam and build lasting friendships.

Throughout the tour, from March 13 to April 3, the group will head to the streets wearing shirts saying "I'm a Muslim ask me anything" and "Meet a Muslim" while hosting public 'Coffee, Cake and True Islam' sessions.

The national roadshow comes as March 15 marks two years since the terror attack on two Christchurch mosques where 51 Muslims were murdered during Friday prayers.

"We've already seen that New Zealand is not immune to misunderstandings and extremism," said Mustenser Qamar, one of the imams involved.

"As we recall the horrific events from two years ago, we remember the tragedy, the loss of life, but also the coming together of the whole nation and standing against discrimination and terror.

"The unity displayed was unprecedented and unseen. However, since then, there have still been racist and Islamophobic events occurring throughout the country including a recent threat to attack the same two mosques in Christchurch.

"Where we need to stand together, we also feel a need to educate. Ignorance leads to misunderstandings, which can lead to negative perceptions and stereotyping.

"We want to continue to provide people an opportunity to meet a Muslim and also, if they wish, to ask any questions they may have about our faith."

Qamar says the aim is to drive a counter narrative which shows that Muslims are no different to anyone else.

He hopes the roadshows will create lasting connections, develop friendships, and allow people to ask any questions about Islam.

Last year a team, led by the same two imams, visited Nelson, Blenheim and Christchurch alongside other towns on the way.

Imam Sabahuzafar said they experienced "some verbal abuse" during the campaign.

But he found many more positives from the trip, finding that the sessions resulted in many perceptions being changed.

Bashir Khan, national president of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, which is behind the campaign, said survivors from the mosque attacks will also take part.

"We believe it is important that we take action, as a community, to remove misconceptions about Islam, so that we can help make New Zealand immune to such attacks in the future. Education and friendship are important pillars in ensuring this."

The group will be visiting many main centers including Invercargill, Queenstown, Dunedin, Timaru, Christchurch, Blenheim, Nelson, Whangarei, Auckland, Taupō, Napier, Hastings, Gisborne, Hamilton, Rotorua, Tauranga, New Plymouth, Whanganui, Palmerston North, Lower Hutt, Upper Hutt and Wellington.



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