Aucklanders from a diverse background had a chance over the weekend to break fast with the Ahmadiyya Muslim community at the community’s Bait-ul-Muqeet mosque in South Auckland. The annual ‘iftari’ experience brings together people from all faiths and walks of life to experience the opening of the fast, or ‘Iftar’, and to gain first hand knowledge of the customs and traditions of Islamic faith.

Imam Mustenser Qamar explaining the Muslim prayer to the visitors

“The tragedy in Christchurch has been a stark reminder of what results negative perceptions portrayed about Islam can lead to and we as Muslims living amongst our fellow Kiwis feel that it is essential to open our doors to the wider community, and give them a chance to come and see for themselves how true Islamic teachings differ from what the actions of some fanatics may suggest,” President of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat New Zealand Bashir Khan said.

“If we understand each others perspective, then that will surely lead to a more peaceful coexistence, and by knowing each other’s customs and faith we would become better at living side by side as we all want to,” he added.

Bashir Khan, President AMJNZ, addressing the guests at the Iftari Experience

By breaking the fast at sunset, the guests had a unique opportunity to join fellow Muslim Kiwis in experiencing one of the cardinal pillars of Islaimc faith. The guests were then invited to observe offering of congregational prayers, followed by a guided tour of Bait-ul-Muqeet, the largest purpose built mosque in New Zealand.

Imam Mustenser Qamar, one of the central missionaries of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in New Zealand, answered questions from the attendees about Ramadan as well as other aspects of the Islamic faith.

The Bait ul Muqeet Mosque, Wiri, Auckland

The attendees appreciated the Ahmadiyya community’s commitment not only to establishing Peace and tolerance, but also the commitment to openness as a way to increasing understanding and harmony among different people.