By Esther Ashby
Two Imams (leaders) will lead a “Meet a Muslim” coffee and cake session in Timaru on Monday.
The True Islam NZ campaign, comprising the Imams and a group of young Muslims, starts in Queenstown on Saturday and will visit every city until April 3.
Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Imam Mustenser Qamar said it was about showing people that Muslims are no different to anyone else, dispel misconceptions, and answer questions on their belief.
“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.”
He said, New Zealand was not immune to extremism and since the Christchurch mosque attacks there had still been racist and Islamophophic incidents.
“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.”
Ahmadiyya Muslim Community national president Bashir Khan said it was important to remove misconceptions and educate people to help make New Zealand “immune to such attacks in the future”.
“We are very fortunate that we enjoy freedom of faith and expression in New Zealand,” he said.
On Monday from 8.30am to 1pm the Muslim group plan to have some of its members standing on Stafford St wearing t-shirts with slogans such as “I’m a Muslim ask me anything”. They will be available to engage in discussions on Islam with interested members of the public. While others will be inside at Coffee Culture on Canon St during that time period.