Representatives of different faiths came together this weekend to present their perspectives on the issue: ‘Loyalty to state or faith?’. The conference was held in Auckland, and organised by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.
Faith leaders representing Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Judaism and Islam, provided their views and those of their faith, and explained to the audience how loyalty to both to faith and state is possible if one follows the teachings of their religion earnestly. The speakers also acknowledged the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at for providing a forum to discuss such topics. Ms Tayyaba Khan, Manager Community Engagement from the Office of Ethnic Communities, chaired the well attended session.
“The religion of Islam is unfortunately being maligned, degraded and considered to give teachings which are incompatible with secular and democratic values”, says Imam Mustenser Ahmad Qamar. “Some of the barbaric terrorist attacks in the west have been committed by so-called Muslims supposedly displaying loyalty to their faith over their nation or state”. Explaining how it couldn’t be further from the true Islamic practice he says, “the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) himself taught that the ‘love for one’s nation is a part of faith.’ Thus, sincere patriotism is a requirement in Islam. To truly love God and Islam, requires a person to love his nation.”
The President of the Ahmadiyya Community in New Zealand, Mr Bashir Khan says, “The issue of divided loyalty is not new and there are parallels in history which shows that every faith at some point has faced this challenge. New Zealand as a country encourages and celebrates diversity. Our purpose is to reach out – recognise and understand that diversity, and stand united! So today we present to you the opportunity to understand how all major faiths have managed this divided loyalty”.
Leaders of all faiths highlighted how religion can play a positive role in promoting peaceful coexistance, and increasing cohesion in the society. Local MPs Hon Parmjeet Parmar, Hon Michael Wood, Hon Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi, and Hon Mahesh Bindra, attended the event and acknowledged and thanked the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community for arranging the meeting, and for providing a platform for a positive discussion to take place.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is a dynamic, fast-growing international revival movement within Islam. Founded in 1889 by Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835-1908) in Punjab, India, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community spans 210 countries with membership exceeding tens of millions. Its motto of ‘Love for all and hatred for none’ is evidenced through the peaceful actions of its millions of followers. The New Zealand branch of this community was established in 1987 and is a registered charitable organisation that endeavors to be an active and integrated community within New Zealand society.