Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Indian Weekender Online
Two New Zealanders have been ranked among the 500 most influential Muslims in the world.
Anwar Ghani, president of the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand (FIANZ), and Kireka Whaanga, leader of the Aotearoa Maori Muslim Association, appear alongside kings, sheikhs and preachers in the list published by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre (RISSC) in Jordan.
King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia heads the list as the world's most influential Muslim, followed by Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister of Turkey (2); Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei of Iran (3); King Abdullah of Jordan (4); and King Mohammed of Morocco (5).
The top 50 were ranked, with the other 450 (including Dr Ghani and Mr Whaanga) named in 10 categories: scholarly, political, administrative, lineage, preachers, women's issues, youth, philanthropy, development and science.
Both New Zealanders appeared under the administrative category.
The RISSC website said of Dr Ghani: "His work leading FIANZ has been considerable, building bridges with the Government as well as with the broader New Zealand population and leaders of other faiths."
Mr Whaanga led the main organisation for New Zealand's Maori Muslims, it said.
Dr Ghani said told the New Zealand Herald he was humbled to be on the list.
"It is truly a great honour to be included and sharing the list with great Muslim kings and preachers."
Islam is the world's second largest religion after Christianity.
New Zealand is home to 37,000 Muslims.