Religious communities relations a concern in NZ

October 2, 2014 by J-Wire Staff
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Community leaders representing Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs, Hindus and members of the Jewish community met recently to discuss and review the experiences of the last few months in New Zealand.

“Our concern is the relations between religious communities here in New Zealand,” says Dr Anwar Ghani President of the Federation of Islamic Association of NZ.

“Many of the issues from overseas that impact on us here are geo-political in nature and are wrongly interpreted as being religious. We as a community of faith of Aotearoa are committed to peace and harmony that we enjoy in New Zealand” Dr Ghani points out.

“All of our religious communities share the same values of peace and social harmony,” says Stephen Goodman from the New Zealand Jewish Council. “We came together to reaffirm and discuss how we can continue to work for a stronger understanding and appreciation of the needs of each of our communities”.

The Religious Communities Leadership Forum has been working together for over five years. Its membership consists of organisations that represent communities from the world religions here in New Zealand.

“All of our organisations and the people we represent urge calm when there is a particularly stressful time such as with the recent conflicts in the Middle East,” says Dr Ghani.

All faith leaders endorsed their commitment to support humanitarian assistance to people in need both within the country and those who are affected by wars or natural catastrophes. “Our wider New Zealand community has within it over 50 ethnic communities who have come to this country because of our democracy and human rights. We do not tolerate any form of anti-Semitic behaviour; nor do the Jewish community accept Islamophobia.”

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