Ahmadiyya offer their message of peace in New Zealand

A Muslim sect is taking its faith to the streets of Auckland this Ramadan month to counter “Kiwi ignorance” of Islam.

The Ahmadiyya community, which considers itself Muslim but is rejected by most followers of mainstream Islam, has embarked on a range of public faith-sharing programmes – including offering a hand in friendship to shoppers in the city and having stalls at weekend flea markets.

One Ahmadiyya faith sharer in Queen St wearing a T-shirt that said “Meet a Muslim” told the Herald he was offering to meet those who wanted to “be friends with a real-life Muslim”.

“There isn’t enough mixing between Muslims and non-Muslims, and maybe that’s because of a lack of opportunities,” he said.

Spokesman Bashir Khan said the community was distributing peace messages door to door and organising public meetings to “educate the public that Islam is a religion of peace” and remove the idea that it is a religion of violence.