Over a hundred and fifty Kiwis took the opportunity to break the fast with the Ahmadiyya Muslim community in Auckland on Sunday, June 11. Held at the community’s Bait-ul-Muqeet Mosque in South Auckland, the annual event brought together people from all faiths and backgrounds to experience the breaking of the fast, or Iftar, and to witness firsthand some of the customs and traditions of the Islamic religion.

“With the negative perceptions portrayed about Islam, we feel 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. If we understand each others’ perspective, then that will surely lead to a more peaceful coexistence,” Bashir Khan, President of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat New Zealand said.

Michael Wood, Labour MP for Mt Roskill area, addressed the gathering and acknowledged the efforts and commitments of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community in bringing the different faiths together under one roof.

“I appreciate Ahmadiyya community’s commitment not only in establishing peace and tolerance, but also the commitment to openness …as a way to increasing understanding and harmony among different people. By knowing each others’ customs and faith, we would become better at living side by side as we all want to,” Mr Wood said.

Amongst the other attendees present were Mandeep Kaur, Gurpreet Arora from New Zealand Police, British Counsul General Robin Shackle. Appreciating the Ahmadiyya Muslim community’s response to the recent terror attacks in the UK he said, “As a practicing Christian who has been to the inside of the mosque to observe prayer service for the first time, I am struck by the similarities between religions, and the great spiritual axiom that runs between them with love as a common theme,” Mr Shackle said.

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 has spanned over 209 countries with the 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.