NZ Muslim groups drop court action – release of $2m donation closer

Scientist, academic and author Hanif Quazi, originally from Peshawar, Pakistan, has helped bring a resolution to a bitter fight in the Federation of Islamic Associations.

After successful mediation, Muslim groups have moved a step closer to distributing $2 million donated to Christchurch victims of the March 2019 mosque shooting.

Factions within the Federation of Islamic Associations have been at loggerheads since earlier this year. One faction deposed then president Mustafa Farouk and court action followed. The impasse prevented the distribution of a $2m donation from the Qatar Foundation due to different views on how it should be shared.

Mediation led by Hanif Quazi this week has resulted in both factions agreeing to withdraw their court cases and to new elections.

The deal is outlined in a letter to New Zealand’s Muslim community by Quazi and his mediation team on Wednesday.

The federation will hold an annual general meeting in Wellington on August 23 at which a new executive council will be elected. The sentencing hearing for mosque shooter will begin in the High Court in Christchurch the next day.

The new team will be required to bring in constitutional reforms to address the “concerns of Muslim community of New Zealand and introduce principles of democracy, transparency, accountability and inclusiveness” in the federation.

The Muslim community is to be consulted.

A united federation executive will be in a better position to resolve how the Qatari money should be distributed. The Qatar Foundation has specified the money should go only to families who lost loved ones in the shootings on March 15 last year and those who were injured. The Canterbury Muslim Association wants it shared more widely, including to witnesses.

The federation is a registered charity and is nearly a year late in filing its returns for the 2019 financial year. Its latest extension requires the accounts to be filed by September 30.

NZ Muslim groups drop court action – release of $2m donation closer