Muslims launch PR offensive on NZ

New Zealand Muslims were quick to disown their prophet, the Quran and LynnMall terrorist Ahamed Aathill Mohamed Samsudeen in these last weeks and are now using the NZ media to try and monopolise propagation of their narrative and discourage independent research and thought.

The Quran assures them that they will be rewarded for working together with their terrorists to spread sharia throughout the world.

8:72. Indeed, those who have believed and emigrated and fought with their wealth and lives in the cause of God and those who gave shelter and aided – they are allies of one another.

For centuries their academics have known they do not have a clear picture of how the Quran came into being, yet today they know that they can lie to defend the faith:
Quran 5:89. God will not impose blame upon you for what is meaningless249 in your oaths, 249 i.e., what is sworn to only out of habit of speech or what one utters carelessly without true intent.

66.2 Allah has already ordained for you the dissolution of your oaths,

The solution to Islamic terrorism isn’t more Islam, and even the local NZ academics understand this. The solution is to educate all who claim to follow the prophet of the Qurans origins. International Islamic academics are starting to understand there are holes in the Standard Islamic Narrative (S.I.N.).

This from Stuff:

Mohammad: First I want to say it takes open-mindedness, humbleness and vulnerability to put everything from the mainstream narrative about how Muslims are perceived and put that aside.

Quran 3.28 Let not believers take disbelievers as allies…

Also, I want to emphasise the easiest way to find out about Islam is not through Google – it’s not through going online and typing; ‘Why do Muslims think like this?’

What’s the point of learning about Islam through the lens of someone who is far, far away?

The easiest way is to get in touch with your local community and start asking any awkward questions you might have. “We’ve heard this and that. Do you guys really think this?”

I’m not a scholar, I’m not an Imam (a person who leads prayers at a mosque). I can’t say I’m representing Muslims in New Zealand. I’m an average Muslim, a practising Muslim. I don’t like the way Islam is perceived in general, and I feel it is my duty to see if there is anything I can do to enhance understanding with my limited knowledge.

Quran 3:138. This [Qur?an] is a clear statement to [all] the people and a guidance and instruction for those conscious of God. 139. So do not weaken and do not grieve, and you will be superior if you are [true] believers. 140. If a wound should touch you ?there has already touched the [opposing] people a wound similar to it. And these days [of varying conditions] We alternate among the people so that God may make evident those who believe and [may] take to Himself from among you martyrs ? and God does not like the wrongdoers
141. And that God may purify the believers [through trials] and destroy the disbelievers. 142. Or do you think that you will enter Paradise while God has not yet made evident those of you who fight in His cause and made evident those who are steadfast? 143. And you had certainly wished for death [i.e., martyrdom] before you encountered it, and you have [now] seen it [before you] while you were looking on.

This conversation is a start. It’s important, as people who might have awkward questions, can sleep on them and might end up talking to the wrong people, and it can build into hate in their heart, minds and souls. Instead, talking to a Muslim in your community could be a better starting point. They will be able to clarify misconceptions or at least point you in the right direction.

We all saw hospitality in the face of hate through the lens of the Christchurch shooter – while he was full of hate when he entered the mosque the first thing said to him was; “Welcome” and I guarantee you that in any mosque and in any Muslim community in New Zealand if you have the most awkward question, and you ask it at a mosque you will be safe there.

Another point I want to make is there are 12 or 13 cultures or nationalities in the Muslim community just in Nelson. So saying that Islam is a culture it is quite problematic, as it transcends culture.

For example, when you go to a certain country and see that the people there have horrible eating habits, that they eat too much, they waste food and their neighbours are starving in famine. You see it and think is this Islamic? Is this really what Islam teaches and preaches?

You’ve got to take a step back, that is culture.

How did you feel when you heard about the terror attack in Auckland?

Mohammad: My first reaction was, I was hoping let it not be a Muslim that did the attack, but it was. We were all feeling the backlash. The second thing was, I hoped no one was killed.

Quran 2:216. Fighting has been enjoined upon you while it is hateful to you. But perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you; and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And God knows, while you know not.

We believe as a Muslim that the ending of your life is the most precious moment. You can be a very good person your entire life, but you end on a bad note.

Quran 3:151. We will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve…

In my perspective he lost his life for stabbing little old ladies in the supermarket, and what did he achieve – nothing. He actually created more hate and got us fearful for our own safety.

Quran 2:191. And kill them wherever you overtake them and expel them from wherever they have expelled you, and unbelief is worse than killing.

Even the Christchurch shooter who killed 51 people. From our theology if he dies in a state of repentance and is sincere, he still has a chance – he will be judged on his final intentions.

I think the perception of a lot of people was that after March 15, through that terrible, terrible trauma New Zealand became a more understanding nation in that people got a better understanding of what life is like for Muslim people in Aotearoa. Do you think what happened in Auckland undermined that?

Mohammad: I think people in New Zealand are very aware, and I like how on the day Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said: “This is a person. It’s not a faith, not a culture. It’s just an individual.” I believe that Kiwis have that distinction.

Quran 2:193. Fight them until there is no [more] unbelief and [until] religion [i.e., worship] is [acknowledged to be] for God.

Sadia: I had a conversation with my friend, what would be the outcome of this incident, and we came to the understanding that a normal Kiwi person would maybe not be changed by this attack. Only the people who already have something in their heart, that already have the hate, it would just increase their hate. A few days after the attack I was in the mall, and a guy said to me; ‘As-Salaam-Alaikum’, and it increased my confidence. Wearing a hijab, I stand out, everyone recognises us instantly.

How do you think New Zealand compares in the way it treats Muslim people?

Sadia: I’ve lived here for 12 years and before coming to New Zealand I was very conscious of coming to a culture, where I wasn’t sure if I would be welcome. At that time things were happening in France and other countries that were not very welcoming to women if they wore hijabs. I thought if I come here, and they say: “We don’t accept you in the university because you are wearing a hijab, I would give up”. But that didn’t happen. They were very welcoming.

Quran 5.51 O you who have believed, do not take the Jews and the Christians as allies. They are [in fact] allies of one another. And whoever is an ally to them among you – then indeed, he is [one] of them.

Mohammad: I believe that by far in Western countries New Zealand is the most welcoming. When I lived in another country, when I went through the airport, even though I was married to a citizen of that country, they looked at my passport and name they would say: “What are you doing here? ‘You keep coming in and out.” There is suspicion. You are put in a box. Whereas when we landed in New Zealand, I remember I got goosebumps; the lady looked at our passports and saw we were residents she said “Welcome Home”. She didn’t have to say that.

Nissa Mowjood thanks the Nelson-Whakatu? Muslim community, during the end of Ramadan fast ceremony, at Founders park in 2018.

An awkward question that comes up when you think about Muslims and the West is around the role of women and how they are treated. What do you say when women ask you about the rights of women?

Mohammad: Again we’ve got to make the distinction between culture and religion. When we are talking about women’s rights in different countries; I 100 per cent agree in some countries the culture is not the best towards women. But that is culture, it has nothing to do with religion.

Quran 4:74. So let those fight in the cause of God who sell the life of this world for the Hereafter. And he who fights in the cause of God and is killed or achieves victory – We will bestow upon him a great reward. 75. And what is [the matter] with you that you fight not in the cause of God and [for] the oppressed among men, women, and children who say, ?Our Lord, take us out of this city of oppressive people and appoint for us from Yourself a protector and appoint for us from Yourself a helper?? 76. Those who believe fight in the cause of
God, and those who disbelieve fight in the cause of taghut. So fight against the allies of Satan. Indeed, the plot of Satan has ever been weak.

The very first verses that revealed back in Mecca 1400 years ago in a society back then because of the harsh conditions they used to celebrate boys, but leave girls to die, to be buried in the sand. One of the first verses revealed was: “What crime did she do to deserve to be buried?”

It just shattered the stereotypes; that it was okay to have a baby girl.

In the prophet’s farewell speech when he talks about women in general three times he said: “Treat your women with respect.” And that was in a society when at that point in time women not allowed to inherit.

In a Muslim family all a women’s earnings are just for her – she does not have to put a penny in the house, she has no obligation to.

Sadia: Women are not required to contribute to the house. But if they are contributing that is their own wish and that is a charity to the family. For men, it is a responsibility, for women it is not a responsibility.

Sadia Tahir, left, Sajana Sahbin and Fatima Azizullah at Trafalgar St Hall to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, the end of Ramadan in this 2017 photo.

What about Islam’s attitudes to homosexuality?

Mohammad: When we talk about homosexuality, much like alcohol and pork, Islam does forbid the act and the majority of Muslims do not endorse it but have nothing against the human being doing it per se.

Sunnah Abu Dawud 38:4447 Narated By Abdullah ibn Abbas : The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: If you find anyone doing as Lot’s people did, kill the one who does it, and the one to whom it is done.

We interact and accept every human being and we do not dehumanise anybody. When it comes to homosexuality we are not here to judge who does what, again much like we don’t go around chasing anyone who eats pork or drinks alcohol.

Quran (of Jews and Christians): 5:60 God has cursed and with whom He became angry and made of them apes and pigs and slaves of t?gh?t.

Even if someone in our faith is homosexual, we can’t just say they are no longer a brother and no longer one of us. No – it is between them and their lord.

This topic is something that has been a red-line for Muslims since 1400 years ago and just because it is legalised in the West a decade or two ago as Muslims we can’t just ignore our theology and everything we hold near and dear and say: “Alright, I approve of everything”. Just like we are accepted regardless of our views regarding alcohol and pork, true open-mindedness is to accept each other, regardless of our differences. Live and let live.

VIRGINIA WOOLF
Antonia Selva, left, gets a henna design by Sadia Tahir at Race Unity Day at Victory Square in Nelson in this 2016 photo.

What are some everyday and helpful things people can do to make their Muslim neighbours feel comfortable in our community?

Mohammad: What would be really helpful is calling out racism and calling out hate in general. This is the biggest thing you can do.

Quran 33:21. There has certainly been for you in the Messenger of God an excellent pattern for anyone whose hope is in God and the Last Day and [who] remembers God often.

What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced in Nelson?

Mohammad: Finding a job. While New Zealand is very open, sometimes it is a challenge to find work.

I was looking for a job, sending resumes left, right and centre and had absolutely no response. I went to a recruitment centre and the recruiter said to me: “You have a really impressive resume, you’ve worked in different places and have all this experience. I’m surprised you can’t get a job. He said: “Can I suggest something. Can I send your profile without a name? I’ll just remove Mohammad Aboubakr from the top.”

And I found a job in two weeks. Two weeks.

What racism or ignorance have you experienced in Nelson?

Sadia: I think in Nelson business or industry they should have more cultural competency to seek to understand other people’s cultures so everyone feels included. Sometimes you don’t feel very included in a setting where people are sitting and talking, and you can not be a part of that conversation. They just talk among themselves.

Mohammad: Honestly myself, nothing.

Nelson Muslim community joined together, at Founders Park, to break the Ramadan fast, ending the most important month of the year for Islam in 2018.

If you could help Aotearoa understand one thing about the Muslim faith what would it be?

Sadia: What is the most appealing thing for me about my faith is accountability. I have to live my life that I’m responsible for my actions and being a better version of myself and that my parent’s actions are not dictating me and no one is responsible for anyone else’s actions. Everyone is responsible for their actions and God will hold them accountable.

Quran 8:73. And those who disbelieved are allies of one another. If you do not do so [i.e., ally yourselves with other believers], there will be fitnah [i.e., disbelief and oppression] on earth and great corruption. 74. But those who have believed and emigrated and fought in the cause of God and those who gave shelter and aided – it is they who are the believers, truly.

Mohammad: It’s simple, it’s logical. What we believe as Muslims is that every person that is born, regardless of whether he is black, white, yellow, red, whether he’s grown up in a Buddhist, Catholic or agnostic house, it doesn’t matter that every baby that is born we believe it has that fitra in him or that instinct or innate inclination towards doing good, towards being good.

(Fitra is an Arabic word meaning the state of purity and innocence Muslims believe all humans to be born with.)

Once you are curious about the truth and get to know a little bit about Islam it just immediately appeals to your instinct – it appeals to that feeling I’m a good person, I was born a good person – I have the capacity to be even better, I have that purpose in life where I can be better I can help others, I can understand, and I can clarify. And that is a beautiful thing.

Quran 24:29. There is no blame upon you for entering houses not inhabited in which there is convenience for you. And God knows what you reveal and what you conceal.

How do you feel about future for Muslims in Aotearoa?

Mohammad: If these conversations keep happening then this will be a healthy place for both Muslims and all other faiths as New Zealand has this inclusivity. I believe that New Zealand is on the right track and can set an example for other countries that have lost the plot.

Quran 9:111 Indeed, God has purchased from the believers their lives and their properties [in exchange] for that they will have Paradise. They fight in the cause of God, so they kill and are killed.

Sadia: For me, it’s very important for more people to have awareness and acceptance that differences in a different culture are not to be feared. If they are migrants or refugees or have different skin colour or food or drink or dress differently they are not to be feared, just to accepted. I think as a minority we feel like we always have to reach out, and for us to feel included, accepted by the majority is the most important thing.

Quran 33:1. O Prophet, fear God and do not obey the disbelievers and the hypocrites. Indeed, God is ever Knowing and Wise. 2. And follow that which is revealed to you from your Lord. Indeed God is ever, with what you do, Acquainted. 3. And rely upon God; and sufficient is God as Disposer of affairs.

  • Mohammad Aboubakr is an engineer living in Nelson with his wife and two children. He is originally from Egypt.
  • Sadia Tahir has lived in New Zealand for 12 years and works as a new product development technologist for a contract manufacturer in Nelson.

Cultural Conversations: Asking awkward questions about Islam following the Auckland supermarket attack