A lapsed Catholic agnostic and an Imam walk into a New Zealand mosque…

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And the Imam says, “why the long face?”

Actually, the above didn’t happen.  But I did visit New Zealand’s largest mosque the other day by tagging on to the coat tails of Spanish Bride who had contacted them in the first place.   SB will have her own story to tell.

This is the first of mine.

 

 


We have covered Islam extensively on Whaleoil over the last 3 or 4 years, but never from a personal perspective.

At the Whaleoil end of year function, I actually spoke about this to SB and said I was keen to go do some “real journalism” and go find out some real stories about Muslims in New Zealand.

Up to the visit to the mosque, I had taken the opportunity to do clandestine interviews.  As I ran into people in my daily life, and I could identify them as Muslim through dress or something they said, I would interview them about their life, their experiences and their thoughts.

As I did, I became increasingly frustrated about two things.

The collective attempt to educate ourselves about Islam on Whaleoil had turned into quite a single-sided story about terrorism and the complete irredeemability of Muslims and Islam in general.

We basically have taken our information from the world’s worst events, most of them international, added this to the worst possible views we could find on the Internet, and then proceeded to create our own feedback loop based on fear and ignorance.

Let me stop for a minute and tell you that terrorism is real.  Radical Islam is real.  Some of it exists in New Zealand.  But where I know some of us have gone too far is by throwing all of Islam and all Muslims into the same category.

And if we are honest with ourselves, complete homogeneity is highly unlikely to be true about any large group.

I have a personal technique which is, somewhat ironically, a bible based test:  by their fruit ye shall know them.

This is a technique that I use to assess people, groups and organisations.  Most barrage you with what they want you to think and know.  Add to that your own preconceptions and what the media feeds you on a daily basis, and there is a lot of information swirling around in your head.

One way to cut all that noise out is to look at what actually happens.  What are the actual outcomes?

So I’ve been searching for Muslims that are a threat to our lives in New Zealand, and I’ve not been able to find any personally in my day to day dealings.

The Chemist that fills my prescription even wished me Merry Christmas as I collected my meds.  And she is Muslim.

The two boys I spoke to at length on a school bus trip about life as a Muslim in a New Zealand public school were also impossible to fit into the one-dimensional all-Muslims-are-bad-Muslims picture we’ve talked ourselves into.

The Muslims that live in my street and do their daily walk past my home.  They are friendly and don’t seem to carry any weapons or wearing suicide vests.

It became clear to me that Whaleoil readers have been done a disservice by our narrow and fear-based view of Islam.  We have also attracted single-issue commenters that perpetuate the same damaging stereotypes.

Let me repeat however, that ISIS is real, suicide bombers are real, radical Islam is real, and Muslims that are a threat to our way of life living in New Zealand are real.

Spanish Bride and I were met by Shafiq ur Rehman whose business card claims he is “Missionary in-Charge”.  Both of us were somewhat nervous.  I can only speak for myself, but I am a true adherent of “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”, so I was keen to be respectful, listen carefully, and try not to do something dumb while at the away game.  I asked for guidance on protocol.  There was no need for any as the visit was informal and relaxed.

Mr Rehman was very thorough and gave us an introduction to the functional areas of New Zealand’s largest mosque.  I believe we got to see it all, including the ablution facilities.  The building is fairly new, opened in 2013 in fact, and can fit up to 700 worshippers on two levels.  Men upstairs, women downstairs.  It’s all open, light, breezy and modern.

The prayer areas are large but basic.  White ceiling, white walls, carpet.  That’s it.  The objective is to focus your prayer on Allah, so there are no distractions.

This particular group of Muslims, the Ahmadiyya, also introduced the first Maori translation of the Koran.  Created over a period of 25 years, it has been written, checked and rechecked that it says exactly the same as the original text in Arabic.  It was a 25 year labour of love to produce it.

After the tour, we sat down with the National President of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at New Zealand Inc, Iqmal Mohammed, and the General secretary as well as secretary External Affairs, Eqmal Khan for some tea and biscuits.

We talked about so many things, it is going to require a number of articles to touch on them all.

What I want to share with you today is that I still have failed to find Muslims that want to take over New Zealand and turn the country into a Islamic state.  I have found Muslims that are actually just like you and me.  The only difference is that they pray to Allah.

They too are disgusted, disappointed and fearful about the perversion of Islam through the actions of those who are essentially a few.

But writing this I can just feel your emotion rising.  Surely they did a snow job on me?  Surely I’ve been convinced and been told stories?  Surely, as soon as I left the mosque, they opened up the gun safe and took out their Kalashnikovs and fired off a few rounds in pure joy?

One meeting doesn’t mean a lot.  And yet it does.  It is the beginning a relationship that I want to build between Whaleoil and the New Zealand Muslim community.

“Why is it”, Iqmal Mohammed said, “that every time I make public statements condemning terrorism and violence in the name of Islam, nobody in the media reports it?”.

And that is the pivotal point.  Because I said “Why is it that every time something happens, we hear nothing from the Muslim community in New Zealand?”

Iqmal Mohammed doesn’t speak for all Muslims in New Zealand.   But the objective was to find the Muslims that want to do us harm.   They exist.  We spoke of other mosques in Auckland, which for the purposes of not inflaming inter-Muslim relationships further, I won’t identify.

But Mr Mohammed does represent a voice of Islam that has the same objectives for New Zealand and New Zealanders that we share.  He doesn’t want Islam to take over.  He wants to live in peace alongside everyone.  He operates an open community that welcomes and embraces everyone.  And literally too.  Some time ago he invited Jews to the mosque and they were physically embraced.

We need balance, we need hope, and we need to be honest to ourselves when dealing with Radical Islam.  And from here on in, Whaleoil will do this through having open conversations with Mr Mohammed and his friends.

This is also an invitation for other Muslim leaders to approach me.  We can not continue to live in fear and ignorance once we meet face to face, hold each others hands and look into each others eyes.

Isolating all Muslims and treating them poorly will in itself become a self-fulfilling prophecy where anger and resentment are allowed to build over time and generations.  Those two boys on the school bus are burned into my mind.  They go to a New Zealand school and they are constantly being called terrorists.  As they told me, the tears welled up in their eyes.

Through our fear, our ignorance and our own behaviour, we could be creating the next generation of Muslims that will grow up resenting us.

Through the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at organisation we have opened a door and Whaleoil will give it a voice.

We can’t solve the world’s problems.  But we can continue to work hard to protect our own way of life.   One way to do that is to ensure that New Zealand immigration is tuned in such a way that we do not import the same problems as other countries have.

Also, we need to be smart enough not to treat the Muslims that are already living here, born here, and actual Kiwis in such a way that their anger and resentment builds against their own neighbours.  Against you, and me.  And our children and grandchildren.

There is no point allowing someone to come here who resents our way of life and there is no point in cultivating our own home-grown terrorists.

And that exact point is what we share with Shafiq, Iqbal and Eqbal.

And on that basis alone, we have common ground to work towards preserving a New Zealand way off life that we can be justifiably proud of.

 

– Pete

 


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  • McGrath

    Great work! Look forward to the next instalments. Now if only a certain left-wing blog could do the same with the Jewish community…

  • Caprice

    Thanks Pete. Balanced approach. Keep out migrants who are bad for New Zealand. Work to integrate and blend those who want to be Kiwi and contribute to our country, no matter who they worship.

  • Lux

    Very interesting insight thanks Pete, I thoroughly agree and look forward to reading more.

  • Bud

    I admittedly have a bias against Islam, not because of any personal experience (the family that runs the local Kebab restaurant are rather pleasant), but because of statistics. A recent survey found that 2 out of 3 British muslims would not report a planned terror strike if they were aware of it. Al Jazera did a survey of its viewers a year or two ago and found that 85% were in favour of the actions of ISIS. These results were not exceptions to the rule, they are the rule, and to ignore them would be foolish. It is indeed unfortunate that ‘moderate’ muslims get lumped in with the rest, but I am not willing to ignore the problems posed by their religion.

  • The Veteran

    Good post.

  • Sally

    Thank you, thank you. The muslim beat up on this blog has been the hardest thing to stomach. I normally remain quiet when stories crop up about banning all muslims from this country etc.
    See I have a brother who through marriage married a muslim and in over 40 years I have seen nothing from her that suggest that she is going to turn around and shoot me. Sure she has some customs that are different but that is the same for the other religions and cultures that make up my blended cosmopolitan family.

    I am not naive enough to not realise Europe has a massive problem, when you see boatloads of fit young men making their way into Germany but we will not have the same problems if we start to respect and listen to the moderate muslims who live in this country.

    • Urbanviper

      I am glad you said this. I’ve traveled widely and work with a lot of Muslims. I’ve had the same problem with some of the rhetoric on this blog. Having studied the Qu’ran and entered into dialogue with missionaries I might not believe what they say but I can respect them for it, just as I can respect missionaries of other faiths or ideas who knock on my door.

    • kereru

      ‘…but we will not have the same problems if we start to respect and listen to the moderate muslims who live in this country.’

      Sadly, however ‘moderate’ a Muslim might be – and that’s hard to quantify as they are going to present a kindly face to non-Muslims – the problem arises when sectarianism among Muslims gets in the way of unity. An article I posted fairly recently drew attention to the fact Muslims are tribal – and much of their conflict stems from the 70 or so different strains of Islam they follow.

      The idea that NZ Muslims are going to side with each other and form a united front comes out of Western civilisation, not that of the Middle East. This is evidenced by the general dislike of the Palestinian Arabs who were not allowed to settle in any Arab country – Jordan being the only exception. The refusal of Saudi Arabia and any of the Gulf States to accommodate Syrians is another example, and the Iran-Iraq war as well. We also have to take into account that what their leaders say in their native tongue (be it Arabic or otherwise) and what they say in English to your face is very seldom the same.

  • rangitoto

    The Ahmadiyya are considered to be dangerous heretics or apostates by the mainstream Sunni and particularly Salafists. An Ahmadiyya was recently murdered in the UK, allegedly for wishing Christians a happy Easter. So I’m not sure they can be considered a typical group.

    • andrewo

      Ahmadiyya are regularly attacked in Indonesia. Whilst I was there I regularly saw reports of mobs attacking & killing them and burning their homes.
      The authorities failed to take any substantive actions against these atrocities and judging by comments from the Minister of Religion, they seem to give the Sunni mob a nod and a wink to carry on.

  • Annoyed

    Thank you. As you say, it is very easy to see the worst and expect it of everyone. I think the only realistic way to deal with Islamic extremism in NZ is to make good relationships with Muslims and ensure they are part of our community. Anyone who’s actually part of a community is unlikely to try to damage it. Muslims must also stand up and ensure that inappropriate behaviour is not ignored, they are in the best place to see it and to deal with it before it becomes a problem.

    Finally – I still don’t agree with what I know of Sharia law. I think it runs counter to the values that are so important to us as a country. What were their views on Sharia law? Did they offer a differing view to what we “know” about it?

  • Orca

    I would like to relate some of my own experience in working with muslims in New Zealand. I used to hire a large team of muslims to do various trade activities, including electrical, plumbing, painting etc. All went well for a year or so. One day, some of the muslim painters turned up unexpectedly at the end of a Friday to do some work. They had just come back from their prayers. I was having a Friday night beer with some of my other tradies. The muslim crew were visibly upset, and spoke few words.

    After that, they were constantly late, and hard to contact. They started arguing over all invoices and trying to increase the agreed prices. The last straw came one day when I was getting a new kitchen installed while some of the muslim painters were painting the roof. They laughed and threw down glass bottles onto the path, smashing them. I went out and asked them to pick them up, assuming that it was an accident. They threw down and smashed more of them, and said that it was my property, I should clean it up.

    Real muslims, real experience, in Auckland.

    • Alan M

      Two things popp ed into mind . Why did they have so many glass bottles on the roof. And maybe they were p’d off you didnt invite them to Friday drinks?

  • northern

    Thank heavens for this article! I have felt increasingly alienated – disgusted even – by the incessant bigoted Islamophobic raving we’ve seen so often on Whaleoil. Yes, of course there is terrorism allegedly based on Islam (erroneous teachings IMHO) but as Pete says here that is not widely supported by our Kiwi Muslim brothers. Might I go further and suggest you might like to include some more balance in your writing on the long-running Israel/Palestine tragedy? Again I feel it is unfair and unreasonable to say absolutely all the blame lies with the Palestinians and that the Israeli Govt and IDF are always squeaky clean.

    • spanishbride

      I feel we provide the balance by giving the other side of the story as the media are exclusively pro-palestine and anti Israel.

    • You can suggest all you like, Pete and SB can write what they like, just as I will write what I like.

      But the point is that generally on issues in Israel I am the balance. All the other media outlets more than adequately push the Pally viewpoint. I push the Israeli viewpoint. As I said I am the balance.

    • Isherman

      The trouble with that particular discussion is that in terms of coverage, accuracy and bias, it would have to be the most one -sided of all geo-political narritives, and WO at least has the courage to confront that, by not blindly going along with what is effectively a populist cause, that has allowed a whole lot of mis-truth and misinformation to support it.

    • [MOD] Removed for obvious and destructive attempt to divert the topic to something completely different.

  • Bluemanning

    From what we have read, researched and viewed with interviews etc SWMBO and I believe that the Ahmadiyya are not likely Jihadists, and are in fact moderates. Consequently from what we have read Ahmadiyya are perceived by some other Islamic sects as apostates and possibly would be treated as badly as Christians, Jews, Atheists and other non Muslims.
    We would be interested in hearing more about visits to Sunni and Shia Mosques in Auckland. If Islam was only represented by Ahmadiyya we would not be having these problems; apparently there is 10 to 20 million worldwide.

    • Isherman

      Unlike the Muslim majority countries, or certainly most of them, in NZ this particular sect form a higher than average proportion of all those who would come under the Muslim banner, which is not a bad thing in itself, and it’s not for me to tell them that they are not Muslim because the two major denominations have a problem with them, anymore than it’s my place to define Conservative or Reform Jews by what the Ultra Orthodox think of them.
      The point being, that those who fit into our society, who are not wrapped up in the politicisation of Islam in our society, and who overall represent no threat, should not be lumped in with those that do, and to that end I applaud the post, as most rational people would.

      • kereru

        The integrated ones you mention would never be discriminated against anyway because they blend in with society and are probably Muslims in name only. Indian Muslims from Fiji have been in NZ for decades. But the issue is not Muslims per se, but the teachings of Islam.

        The problem is individuals like the Pakistani who opened a ‘dairy’ in our suburb. He was attired in full Islamic gear, head cap, flowing robe and long bushy beard. It seemed that the ‘dairy’ was just a front for selling permitted drugs during the day, and banned drugs under the door at night. His shelves were filled with hookahs.He then decided to turn part of his shop into adult store. An adjacent shop owner told me that they were losing trade because people didn’t want to walk past his shop with children. A homeowner opposite the shops sold their house as they were so unsettled by the druggies and loafers hanging around day and night. There were many police visits, but nothing seemed to come of it. Apparently they couldn’t catch him in the act. In the end the owner of the building gave him notice, but I believe he merely continued to trade elsewhere.

        • Alan M

          Yeah the hypocrisy of the ‘religious’ alcohol
          (=drug) dealers p’s me off.

    • kereru

      You are correct, they are discriminated against as not being true Muslims. They’re the people who attend interfaith functions and have done so for years. May I stick my neck out and suggest a visit to Sunni or Shia mosques for balance?

      There are Muslims in many professions, including a couple of very cultured and well educated men our son befriended when they were at Med School. But these were indistinguishable from anyone else and likely to be nominal Muslims at best.

      It is important to remember that It is not individual Muslims, but the teachings of Islam, that we need to be concerned about. Some Muslims may choose to ignore their holy books, and probably don’t attend a mosque – but many don’t and they are the ones we should be able to comment on without feeling we’re being unjustifiably critical. All the interfaith peaceful liaisons in the world won’t stand in the way of this sector.

  • Sailor Sam

    The issue at hand though is not with the people you talked to.
    What do we know of the recent refugee arrivals here, what are their skills, what can they contribute to our society?
    If these recent arrivals have nothing to contribute, end up on government benefits etc, then their children will become radicalised and the results we can see in Europe now.
    That question must be confronted by our government, to date it has been silent on this.
    I also question the need to translate the Q’uran into maori, is that a way to enrol dissatisfied maori youth into Islam and become more radicalised than they are now?
    Unless mainstream Islam in NZ starts to publicly disown Islamic terrorism, it has a major problem.
    I am of Dutch heritage, came here in 1963 with my parents.
    As a family we adopted the NZ way of life, my children and grandchildren are fully fledged NZers.
    In other words we fitted in, we did not expect NZ to change to our culture and religion.
    Muslim people must accept that they must do the same.
    These are legitimate concerns that need to be addressed.

  • Muffin

    I’m sure there was some very nice germans in german in 1938 too, didnt mean that the fanatics were held back from dragging the world into war. As soon as I see Saudi Arabia, Iran etc bombing ISIS and looking after their own fakeugees, seperating their church and state and basically starting to act like civilisations that deserve to exist in the 21st century then I may change my opinion.

    • johnandali

      I’m very suspicious about where the ISIS, Al Quaeda and Hamas get all their weapons, rockets and ammo. Surely our intelligence folk in the West would know full-well where it’s all coming from, who produces it, and who supplies it. So why don’t they do something about it? Anybody who produces, supplies or delivers weaponry to terrorist organisations needs to be stopped dead in their tracks.

  • yoyoyo

    While this is true I believe in loving thy neighbour and agree we should offer love and peace to others in our society including Muslims.

    Problem is the non crazy Muslims are irrelevant.
    http://youtu.be/Ry3NzkAOo3s

  • Graham Pilgrim

    What this post, and possibly the visit to the Mosque has failed to address is the teachings of the Qur’an.

    I have not read it myself, so I am relying upon what others have, purportedly, quoted from it.

    If the Qur’an is the handbook of Muslims, irrespective of whether they are Ahmadiyya or Sunni, moderate or radical, then any form of Islam bothers me. The Qur’an appears to demand Sharia Law from ALL Muslims, and to me, this is unacceptable in New Zealand, no matter how nice the people may be.

  • edenman

    This morning I watched on UK channel 4 the documentary ‘What British Muslims Really Think’. Having just read your post on your Mosque visit I believe you were whitewashed.
    The TV program gave a much wider perspective of Muslim integration (lack of it).
    I hope one of our local TV stations picks up and broadcasts this program. In the meantime I suggest you try and get a copy to view.

  • john Doe

    It is good to learn that WW3 has now ended and life for most can return to normal however whist Muslim women remain oppressed and are required to cover themselves from top to toe, i will continue to keep a watchful eye on my neighbor. When my neighbor pursues a normal kiwi lifestyle like me then I will start to relax.

  • Bootboy

    All you have done is meet a moderate Muslim and I am quite sure he was a nice person. You didn’t discuss with him the nitty gritty about the very text and actions of the prophet he worships. Inviting Jews into a mosque and embracing them would earn you a death sentence or a car bomb in some Muslim countries overseas. There is a reason for that. Show me a moderate Muslim and I will show you someone who is under threat of death from their own leadership. The real question you should have asked the “Mission in Charge” of the Mosque is how he can justify that the actions and words of Muhammad were truly those of a Holy man. We all want to continue the culture of our forefathers and respect their struggles. But if the very foundation of a culture (the Koran) is based upon what many scholars would call an evil doctrine then no genuine good can ever be built upon that foundation. Moderate Muslims are behaving in the opposite way to what their holy text is telling them to do. That is why radical clerics visiting from overseas are such a threat. They will enter a mosque and point out the hypocrisy of the moderates and seek to change their views to a more radical stance. Once the moderate old guard at the mosque changes then the new generation will be totally different. The opinion polls of younger people in Muslim countries clearly shows that a radical mindset exists amongst many millions of them. It isn’t a majority rules game with terrorism. A small minority can easily bring the majority to its knees with fear, death and deception. Multiply the frequency of the Paris and Brussels attacks by only a small factor of 10 and you will see Europe truly gripped by fear. Imagine what similar attacks multiplied by a frequency of 100 would do to Europe? Based on the percentages of people with radical Islamic views versus the number of Muslims in Europe, then a factor of 100 is easily possible. It is the ignorance of moderate Muslims and liberal westerners about the teachings of the Koran and their implications, which will see Islamic terrorism exist with us for the rest of our lives and the generations after that. The only true path to peace is by asking Muslims and liberals to seriously study the Koran and ask themselves “Were these truly the actions and words of a holy man inspired by God?”

  • venator

    What !
    you wrote “It became clear to me that Whaleoil readers have been done a disservice by our narrow and fear-based view of Islam. We have also attracted single-issue commenters that perpetuate the same damaging stereotypes.”

    I vividly recall you chaps & SB lighting and maintaining the fuse on this issue.

    • Old Kiwi

      “been done a disservice by “our” narrow and fear-based
      view of Islam”.

      Venator, Have you read it right? I think the “our” is referring to Whale oil.

      You are on the same page you know.

      • venator

        Cheers for that Old Kiwi. I hadn’t picked it up. Tired eyes. I’m less hot under the collar now. Regards

  • Seriously?

    If the world is going to come out of its current struggle with radical, or what I’d call regressive, Islam I think we need Islam to go through the sort of modernization that Christians experienced over the past 500 years (remember, it is not that long ago that Christians were burning witches).

    That type of “reformation” will not be encouraged by alienation, but equally it won’t be encouraged by placation. We have to find a middle path. It is not going to work to try and eliminate the religion. But we should not allow our civility, our respect for women, or our acceptance of difference, to be eroded by a desire to avoid offending beliefs.

    In the meantime, it would be nice to know that Muslims in New Zealand feel a part or the war on terror, that they too agree that ISIS needs to be wiped from the face of the earth. I haven’t felt that yet, but this article implies that is the case. As you say, maybe I don’t hear it because it doesn’t fit with the media narrative, rather than because it is not there.

    • Islam needs no reformation. It needs restoration. It’s regressing.

      • Seriously?

        Yes, I agree. But I think it stopped “progressing” about the time Hamid Al-Ghazali deemed mathematics evil. It seems to have retreated into itself ever since. Somehow that needs to turn around.

        I think the reality is that if we cannot foster that, the “war” we are currently fighting will be endless. There will be a next ISIS, and a next one.

      • Isherman

        Yes, and interestingly the Ahmadi believe exactly that, that Islam needs to be restored to its original ‘pristine’ form and essence, which they believe had been lost through the centuries.

    • kereru

      Burning witches, or burning anyone, is not a Christian practice. Those who burned witches were acting without a Biblical mandate.

      • Seriously?

        But nevertheless they were what at the time passed as Christian and thought they were doing their God’s work. Christianity move on, and that is good.

        Islam needs to “move on” as well, and something as simple letting all its women attend school or drive or out from under the sheet might be as good a start as any. I’d love to hear someone say, well that rule might have been appropriate in its time, but that time has past.

        • kereru

          Seriously, please understand that nobody is born a Christian. Individuals choose to become one. Secondly, it is not possible to ‘pass as a Christian’ without showing the fruits of a genuine believer. It isn’t like joining a club by having the right credentials but the inward spiritual regeneration of an individual. People can think what they like, but that doesn’t make it so.

          Irrespective of the times, if they thought they were doing God’s work by burning witches they obviously hadn’t read the Bible. They might have been genuine in their belief, but they were genuinely mistaken.

  • roblin

    Agreed with several comments previously, you met the wrong kind of Muslims, Ahmadiyah is not considered Muslims by either Sunni/Shia. I can confirm that they are persecuted in Indonesia just like non-Muslims. They are probably closer to Christian/Hindu than Muslims.

    The real enemy here is not Muslims but socialist nutter like Merkel and MSM that blindly accepts Muslims no matter what.

    What we need is simple:
    -help the true persecuted minorities refugees not another load of Sunni/Shia that want to bring their wars here.
    -treat all NZ Muslims equal to other resident/citizen, if they follow the NZ law we will leave them alone. No separate swimming pool, no halal McD etc. When they break the law, apply the appropriate punishment etc.

  • Yes its true that there are many of different religions who mean no harm to those who don’t share their faith. Nevertheless fanatical religious belief has caused the needless deaths of countless numbers of innocent people all over the world since time immemorial. I personally can’t see any good from believing in deities of any kind. You may as well believe in fairies and goblins as there is more proof of them than of any religion’s validity. Surely in this day and age of educational enlightenment we’ve grown up enough as a society to rationally ditch the mental crutch of religious faith.

    • Isherman

      Perhaps part of the issue is that in parts of the world, religion, (and not exclusively Islam), forms a strong and substantial part of the social and cultural construct of the society, and so every aspect of life is coloured by it.

      • kereru

        Agreed. Islam is best described as a theocratic ideology as it informs and demands entry into every aspect of an individual’s life, personal, judicial and political. Basically it is an ideology of fear, and there is no separation of mosque and State.

    • Graham Pilgrim

      I believe that until such time as Muslims renounce many of the teachings of Muhammad, we are on a hiding to nothing in attempting to co-exist with them.

  • tjb

    If there are anti isis, anti terrorist, pro peace, anti violence, anti racist, pro secular, pro secular law muslims willing to speak publicly then I’d love to hear from them loudly and often. Make it happen.

  • Sticktotheknitting

    Thanks for that report. I look forward to the next installment. It was very good of you both to go and investigate on our behalf. I am prepared to hear both sides of the discussion but afraid to go visit a mosque. I have talked with a muslim lady from Kuala Lumpur who seemed perfectly sweet and “normal” only difference was the head scarf which she wore at all times. However because of my fear of islam I deleted her from my facebook page which I regret and think was most cowardly of me.

    • A few days before going I did think “what on earth have I committed to?”

      I’m not going to debate any of the comments below individually, but I’m working from basic principles.

      2 days ago, we were not talking to ANY Muslims, and NO Muslims were talking to us.

      One meeting and one article is a start.

      I believe that any group that is willing to engage in peaceful discussions about these matters is better to engage with than to isolate.

      As knowledge and comfort levels on both sides increase, it is my intention to find other Muslims communities to include in this project.

      • Dan

        The comment made that they do not get their condemnations reported in the media following a terrorist attack. Perhaps this has opened up a door for them to do so – here? A brave article Pete. Well done!

        • spanishbride

          The wonderful thing is that it has. They have instructed their person in charge of Press releases to include Whaleoil from now on.

          • FornaK

            Ahhh nice. So we can expect to see their condemnation from the next attacks then?

  • Christine

    When people make the comment that they personally know muslims who are very nice people and implying therefore there can be no problem with this so called religion. They should always be reminded of the dangers of confusing the personal with the political.

  • R&BAvenger

    Thanks for the article Pete. I think to be fair, most readers do realise that not all Muslims are terrorists, but most terrorists are Muslims.

    it’s essential to maintain a dialogue with the Muslim community here in NZ as isolating them while accusing them of forming cliques is not helpful, neither is it the NZ way.

    I hope the community you visited do feel they can do so and that WOBH is more than the Media Party make it out to be.

  • jaundiced

    The question of ‘moderate’ muslims I’m interested in hearing their views on, is whether you can be a good muslim without supporting the teachings of Muhammad.
    There is no avoiding it – he was a very bad man.

    • kereru

      I think the answer is fairly obvious, unfortunately. But bear in mind that Muslims are born Muslim. Most don’t have any choice and live under the penalty of banishment or death if they leave. But there are increasing numbers who are leaving Islam, and who go under assumed names for their safety. They will give you insights into the reality of Islam for those who choose to decide for themselves and accept the cost of doing so.

  • Orca

    Yes, your’e right, it is indeed all a global conspiracy against muslims. Those mere 30,000 deaths at the hands of terrorists last year, heck that’s only as many as died in the Vietnam war, a drop in the bucket. It was not done by many muslims, just one or two bad eggs, and boy, weren’t they busy little eggs, eh?

    Of course, the conspiracy was cleverly detailed, all those fake videos of islamic refugees attacking people in Europe, oh boy, thousands of awesome photshop jobs there too.

    And the independent polls showing that 40-50% of the moderate muslims agree with ISIS, well, obviously 40-50% of the population is just a few bad eggs.

    Boy, what a clever conspiracy it has all been, thank goodness that Europe didn’t fall for that one, and continued to let the refugees in! Sweden is awesome, Italy is just peachy, there are no riots in England or Greece, and we can all go home now, nothing to see here, move along.

  • Usaywot

    Great post and well balanced. I worked with a devout muslim man for a number of years. What a lovely man. Loved his wife and sons, worked hard, was mild mannered friendly, quiet. Had made 2 trips to Mecca. Never in a thousand years would he be a terrorist. I have never felt badly towards all muslims, just the terrorists, but the trouble is that unless you know some muslims personally and only hear of them through terrorism it would be natural to fear them. And as most people would say “How do you distinguish them?” I think fully veiled women in NZ is a really bad look and only increases suspicion.

  • Dan

    I must admit that this article threw me. I was not expecting it however, by the same token, It is refreshing to see a brave post from the other side, as it were if anything for balance and debate. I can’t wait for SB’s post on this visit.

    Having read the posts though which has taught me a little about the Ahmahdiyah branch of Islam and how the two main Shia Sunni sects regard them, I wonder what impact the Egyptian clerics will have on this mosque, either directly or indirectly, considering it has been quoted that they are coming to take control of the mosques here.

    In response to those who say there is a coverup, a quick check may indicate that al-taqiyya (deception) is not permitted by Ahmadhiyah members, as it appears to be a Shiite sect concept more than anything. (Or is that in itself taqiyya). So one should give the benefit of the doubt in favour of these muslim gentlemen. So if that is the case, then, as some commentators have stated, it would be good to get these leaders to offer opinions on their interpretations of some of the more radical concepts in the koran. Perhaps that comes later.

    The important thing though is that noone should place a blanket hatred on muslims in general. We can leave that to those who choose to be naive in their thinking and feral by their actions. There are things in their doctrines that we may be permitted to detest, but we should not hate the common membership per se. Just as there are enough variations in Christianity to hate some doctrines preached by some denominations (ie, that proclaimed by money preachers or maybe things like veneration of saints), but does not give licence to hate the common members. For me, I am just as wary of an imam as I am a televangelist.

    • “The important thing though is that noone should place a blanket hatred on muslims in general. We can leave that to those who choose to be naive in their thinking and feral by their actions. ”

      Lazy in their thinking or captured by their fears.

      • JohnO

        I think we can hate Islam with a clear conscience. We should not hate Muslims and especially Muslim women who are victims of this psychotic ideology. We should not tolerate any Islamic behaviour or expression at all.

  • Orca

    I do hope that this sudden change in attitude, isn’t the result of death threats.

    • Even thought I’m on the fence, I’m going to let that stand as a genuine question, rather than an attempt to derail the conversation.

      You can be assured that if I feel at any time under any kind of threat that the first people that will be involved will be the NZ Police.

      I can assure you that had you been sitting next to me talking to these people, you would realise how ridiculous that idea is. But until you do sit next to them, you’ll have to trust my judgement in the mean time.

      You don’t have to agree with me. But you know me well enough and long enough to understand that I do not bend to pressure of any kind.

      • Orca

        Thanks for that. No, it was a genuine concern, and I am glad that it was unfounded. You are starting out on an exploration that I have done myself, meeting literally hundreds of muslims from (and in) various parts of the world, over the last 30 years. Your conclusions to date are from a few. From my experience in many countries, please don’t forget the old adage about playing with fire.

  • JohnO

    I wonder if you would have had such a positive experience with the Imam if he thought you were a Jew. I suspect not. When a respected teaching book commands over a hundred times to hate and demean a particular race it is hard to overcome that conditioning. At the very least one of the fruits of Islam is to hate despise and demean Jews.

    • spanishbride

      Yes Jew hatred is definitely in the Koran and you all know how protective I am of Jews and supportive I am of Israel. I am still working on my first article but for now I will share this one thing. I didn’t ask about them about their attitudes towards Jews but they spontaneously told me of embracing Jews who had joined them for interfaith get-togethers. I did not expect that at all and tears came to my eyes. From what I saw during our first meeting they treat those kinds of verses the way I treat the old testament in the bible.
      Even though my research has taught me that the latest verses are the ones that Muslims must follow ( the peaceful verses were at the start of Muhammad’s life ) nevertheless clearly they appear to not follow this.

      • roblin

        Hi SB, again I appreciate the willingness of WO to a balance report on this subject. However I still think you met the “wrong” Muslims. As you have said, because Ahmadiyah don’t follow the latest verses, of Quran, they are hated/persecuted by mainstream Muslims just like us non believers.

        • It’s step one roblin. It is an attempt to start somewhere.

          The alternative is… what?

          Practically, what do you want to do, and what do you think can be done?

          • roblin

            Hi Pete,
            I can see your point, however how do you separate good vs bad Muslims?

            As my previous post, things we can do probably start small. Let your friends and families know about Muslims so that they are aware the issues and not jumping to the increase refugee quota blindly.

            As for NZ muslims we should threat them just like any other residents, no special treatments. No separate swimming pool, no halal only restaurant and specially no Sharia. If they follow our laws then we should leave them alone. But punish them to the maximum extent if they break the law.

            Again the biggest enemy is the nutter socialits that thing they know better.

  • Crowgirl

    Thanks for this post. I have to admit that it’s made me feel hopeful that maybe some of the issues afflicting Europe and the ME, can be avoided in NZ. I’ve had interactions with at least 2 devout Muslims here and never have either one ever made me feel uncomfortable or threatened – they have been some of the kindest most generous people you could meet.

    Perhaps the Ahmadiyyah can be given the benefit of the doubt as they do not seem to have the same problems as the Sunnis and Shia do (Sunnis in particular). I do think when you relate to people as people and not a collective threatening group, it goes a long way towards breaking down barriers and allaying fears. We are all members of humanity and have shared experiences as such. I do believe the vast majority just want to be left alone to raise families and live their lives in peace. It just gets hard to remember sometimes.

    I was extremely saddened by what happened to that Ahmadiyyah man in Glasgow, and what you describe with those 2 young boys, well that’s just not right ?

  • Graham Pilgrim

    As Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan said : “There is no moderate or immoderate Islam. Islam is Islam and that’s it”

    I must confess that this article threw (and confused) me as well. It flies in the face of all previous Whaleoil “teachings” on the subject. In fact, many a mainstream journalist has been roundly (and rightly) condemned by this very blog for writing stuff like this.

    I look forward to the next episode with great anticipation.

  • Jman

    Questions: What percentage of NZ muslims are Ahmadiyyah? You say this is the largest mosque in NZ? Based on what? Its physical size or its number of worshippers?

  • rexabus

    All very nice and yes we know they aren’t all bad, of course not. I have met some lovely muslims and one or 2 stinkers who’d be lovely or rotten whatever faith they were. This is where a big part of the problem is – you can’t discriminate against a faith or people based on a few bad eggs however terrible their actions may be. However, as has been pointed out many many times on whaleoil in articles and comments, islam and its ways cause very little trouble in western lands until they reach the 2-5% mark then things start to change. Their faith and our ways seem incompatible when their faith has the numbers to start jostling for power. I’m sure your encounters with muslims have all been very pleasant – as have mine- but the day will come when their numbers will be great enough that nice people or not we will have to decide how far we are willing to bend to accommodate the ways of the religion of peace and whether they can ,when they have the population here to challenge for some say in the matter, learn to turn the other cheek to the ways of the infidels

  • Day Day

    Nice work Pete. You’re a good man. “Blessed are the peacemakers”

  • I’m a bit dubious about statistics like “50% of moderate Muslims support ISIS”. My experience with Muslims is that many have some sympathy for ISIS’ fight against a (to them) repressive Syrian regime and some similar inclination to dislike the US (with some justification). If you ask directly whether they agree with throwing homosexuals off buildings or burning pilots alive they invariably recoil in horror. Moderate Muslims may have some sympathies for ISIS fight but none at all for their methods.

    Consider it the same as admiring Helen Clarke’s political abilities whilst hating her ideology.

  • Vlad

    Thanks a lot Pete, this blog is moving to be the centre of rational debate and information in NZ. The account is slightly compromised because Ahmadiyah is well outside the mainstream of Islamic practice worldwide as others have commented.

    But still, there is decency and a commitment to be a good kiwi within the Sunni Muslims as well. Keep looking, meet and talk with people in other branches of Islam (nothing wrong about that, there are plenty of varieties of Christianity as well) and keep reporting back.

    You might prove me wrong but I do think the centre of dogmatic fanaticism is in the Wahabbi/Salafist Saudi branch, funded with billions. There is hope outside this mob.

    • I’m not trying to solve the world’s problems. I am simply widening our knowledge and working towards preserving a way of life in New Zealand that isn’t much different to what it is now.

      This must involve better immigration filtering. It must involve embracing Muslims that want the same things we want. It must involve a process of mitigating and (if we can dream) one day all but eliminating any hatred and destructive actions by Muslims already resident that are opposed to these principles.

      Lobbing angry comments at them from a blog is not constructive. We need to have the courage to not just lump them all in the same basket and be prepared to find out who our true friends are so we can then focus on preserving and improving a New Zealand that our grand children will also feel safe and happy in.

      • spanishbride

        Comment of the day right there Pete :)

  • Eiselmann

    Be interested to see if they believe Mohammed is an example to aspire to…if they say no, then I’d be interested to see how they would still be considered Muslims, if they say yes , then I’d be interested to know how someone who thinks a murderous pedofile who coverted on the point of a sword, lied and deceived his way into dominace ,is aspirational ,and now that means they are truly tolerant of non believers and don’t want Islamic law in this country.

    Still if Mr Rehman has been totally honest with you then it is heartening to remember that not all Muslims seek to destroy our civilisation and replace it with their own, but as the article mentions he doesn’t represent all Muslims.

  • RG52

    To form an opinion of all Muslims based on meetings with members of the ahmadiyya sect will give a false opinion indeed. The Ahmadiyya are a very small percentage of muslims (about 1%), and are known to be very peaceful, peaceful to the point where many other muslims don’t class them as muslims.

    The Ahmadi are about the only muslims who will condemn acts or terrorism.

    The ahmadi do not believe in abrogation which must make reading the Koran a lot more confusing than it already is. They do not believe in jihad in the way the Sunni muslims do.

    Can you please visit a salafi or wahhabi mosque and write about that? That will give a much better indication of islam. That is the islam that the Saudis are spreading by building and staffing mosques around the world which is where many of the terrorists come from.

    If all muslims were like the ahmadi the world would be a much more peaceful place! But sadly many muslims aren’t like the ahmadi which is why the Middle East, Europe, much of Africa, and anywhere else muslims settle suffer so much violence. Writing silly articles comparing all muslims to the ahmadi will only make it harder to stop the spread of violence.

    I await your report of a visit to a wahhabi mosque?

    • spanishbride

      It is precisely because their version of ‘ true Islam ‘ is so different that we want to talk to them. They understand the wider world of Islam in all its versions intimately.They don’t want the version of Islam that we have criticised and fear here in NZ anymore than we do because that is the same Islam that wants to hurt them.

      • FornaK

        Do these religion of peace schools, receive any taxpayer funding?
        If so, how much is spent on them throughout NZ?
        If no tax payer funding is provided, where does their money come from?

    • “I await your report of a visit to a wahhabi mosque?”

      Will you come with me?

      • RG52

        If you think they will let an atheist through the door?

        • The ones I just visited did. An Atheist and an Agnostic. Yet we have a common goal of a peaceful New Zealand where what is happening in Europe will not come to us.

          Perhaps it is going to take people that aren’t invested in being right or true or the only ones god picked to actually provide a bridge.

      • Bombastic

        If it were a Sunni mosque, I would, that’s the beach of Islam that needs to answer some pretty serious questions about their behaviour/teachings etc in the 21st century.

  • Doc45

    Firstly, good on you for setting out on this road. Brave and challenging. To clarify – I do not “hate” anyone or apply blanket reactions.

    My question revolves around their desire to proselytize. I understand from my reading that in UK and several European countries there are a large percentage of “moderates” who are content to live and let live. There are small minority of radicals who feel burdened to “win the world for Islam”. As the overall numbers of Muslims increase from immigration and a faster birthrate the minority are leveraging their influence because the moderates will not oppose them. As well the moderates are a potentially fertile ground for young radicals. My point is that moderates do not have to do anything – just not oppose or fight radicalism to any extent but they provide the numbers for medium term conquest.

    Your thoughts on that please.

    • I believe Muslims that do not wish non-Muslims harm and do not want to extend Islamic rule all over the world to the eventual 100% conclusion do have a job to do.

      And as far as I can see, they are trying to do it.

      However, they are between a rock and a hard place. Just look at some of the comments below. “Oh, but those aren’t REAL Muslims, even REAL Muslims deny them” (paraphrased).

      OK, so I haven’t sat across a table from a gun toting radical and debated him into submission. Perhaps I’ll do that next week.

      I realise this is a shock to the system, and it is the first step on a long journey.

      And it will start with Muslims that are similar in nature, thinking and objectives to our own. If for no other reasons as I outlined above. Freezing them out is just going to turn their children into problems for our children.

      The boys on the bus? One of them told me his parents said they really don’t want him to eat bacon in the house. But if he ate it at a friend’s place, that’s ok. They told him that there are no pressures of “being Muslim” on him until he’s 18. Then he can personally decide who or what he wants to be.

      My deep and I believe realistic fear is that “my” children and “your” children that go to school with him will have called this boy a terrorist for so long, for so many years, that the tears will have dried up, and he won’t just choose to be a Muslim, or even a good Muslim, but with all the hormones and anger that comes from being a young man, he’ll turn into the kind of Muslim we don’t want.

      And the sad thing will be that we created him.

      • RG52

        Pete. Islam is by far the most violent religion and the most violent political ideology on earth today. If non violent muslims wish to remain muslim, then how they and their families deal with the reality of being part of a violent religion/ideology is really their problem.

        If he turns violent, then we didn’t create him, his religion of choice created him!

      • Doc45

        Thanks Pete. You have started a useful discussion.

      • KatB

        The boys on the bus highlight one of the issues for me about Muslims and other faiths as well. The boy’s parents were a bit wishy washy on the bacon issue. Then we see the Halal Mcd restuarants and it does make you wonder, is somebody having a laugh? How do we know who is truly following their religion? I know plenty of “Catholics” who say they are Catholic and to them that means going to Mass once a year, Midnight Mass and even then they’re drunk, after being to the pub. Is it right that we pick and choose what parts of our faith we wish to follow, can we really say we’re that religion when it’s really only in name or by birth? Just as the lying, cheating, deviant Catholic gives Catholics a bad name, does the friendly, accepting, bacon eating Muslim, give Muslims a good name? I know you can’t tar everybody with the same brush and I hope you have many more informative meetings like this one you had.

  • edenman

    A very good article on ‘Gates of Vienna’ website which i recommend to WO readers.
    Please make the effort to read this as it shows the reality of Islamafication of the west

    http://gatesofvienna.net/2016/04/why-the-term-moderate-muslim-is-an-oxymoron/#more-39376

    • kereru

      Very thorough examination of the mixed messages we get from the MSM about the truth which is staring them in the face, and which they are too afraid to name.

  • phronesis

    So much I could say. If “real journalism” was the intention then I think you have succeeded admirably. That’s front page of The Herald quality journalism that is.

  • willtin

    While I have previously had an excellent commercial relationship with some very pleasant Muslim individuals, any argument on behalf of their integration into our New Zealand society is lost on me, with the words ” men upstairs and the women, downstairs”. This very action is against all my/our principles, as far as I am aware. I can only liken it to the sexist behaviour of those Maori, who also consider themselves a race apart and will not, or cannot, assimilate into the culture we enjoy today.

    • I think it is a matter of prioritising.

      Let’s work on the fact that some Muslims want us to become Muslims, and if necessary, by force.

      Once that is solved, we can have a talk with them about having different prayer rooms.

      I can assure you that there are things going on at Brian Tamaki’s place that I also don’t think are appropriate. But I do respect his congregation’s rights to do whatever they deem appropriate.

      • willtin

        I see no reason not to associate with anyone of any persuasion as long as we make known to them, how we view their archaic practices. If the Bish wasn’t such a joke, he might even be dangerous.

      • thesilentmajority

        Pete the oppression of women is often much bigger than that (having different prayer rooms) To me, that sounded a bit flippant, which I am sure you don’t mean to sound.

    • spanishbride

      As a feminist you know how much that kind of gender separation upsets me. Over generations these kinds of things can change if children go to Kiwi schools and experience Kiwi culture.My Lebanese heritage was very sexist yet as a second generation NZer I am a feminist and enjoy a marriage of equals.
      That is certainly a battle still to be fought and one that is important to me. Terrorism and extremism however is my immediate concern right now.I want to prevent NZ going down the same path as Europe.

      • willtin

        Most societies revere Motherhood and historically it’s Mothers who keep their children in line, but surely that is all blown out the window (in some cases literally) when one’s Father teaches his children that his wife is a second hand citizen. So I believe the sexism/misogyny/homophobia is at the heart of the problem and that is where any issue is best addressed first.

        • spanishbride

          I feel that we are literally at war and we have to work towards preventing hostile people from entering NZ as our first priority. Sweden has fantastic equality views and feminist views which they have tried to teach to their new citizens but because they did not control or screen immigration their lofty ideals have protected no one. IN fact they have made the lives of women in Sweden 100 times worse.

          Terrorists are equal opportunity murderers. They happily kill men, women, muslims and infidels they don’t care who they kill. It is all about terror.

          • Bombastic

            I’ve seen pictures of the twisted corpses left in the outdoors of post-rape victims. The left seem to control of the narrative. Muslim rapists (whoops) immigrants trump women. They have “sexual emergencies”.

            #blacklivesmatter, except when they are at a concert in the Batalan Theatre. The left disgust me.

      • Crowgirl

        I once did a meditation course where there was gender segregation – all the same room but men on one side and women on the other. There were also rules about dress – colours had to be light/bright and women were encouraged to wear saris despite not being Indian.

        They also had a rule about couples – you either had to be single or married to do the course, no in-between. It was to do with being able to clear your mind to meditate – they figured if you were not married or single, your relationship status could prove a distraction.

        In the end I had to stop going because I had no intention of never dating again and the rules were becoming too restrictive in that department. You would not think that would be the case in something as mentally liberating as a meditation course, but there it is.

      • Really?

        I would like to believe things can change if children go to kiwi schools – but not if the report whale oil published yesterday from Britain is true. The youngest Muslim’s are the staunchest (according to the report).

      • thesilentmajority

        I’d like to think we can tackle both. If we focus on the violence only we will one day wake up and realise we have accepted the latter. And womens rights will take at least one generation to recover, if not more. Europe has shown us that the generation change you describe is not happening and many Muslim women in the West are oppressed by the standards set by the feminists who came before us (who are strangely silent now)

    • Duchess of Pork

      Yes, I hesitated when I read that as well but was also concerned to read that the group purporting to represent this non-threatening voice of Islam was comprised only of men. As the meeting, together with the subsequent post appeared to revolve around the threat of terrorism and radicalisation I gather a discussion on the role of women is still to be had. But until those discussions are begun, particularly in the wider community, the integration of Muslims into New Zealand society is problematical.

  • johnandali

    When I was based in Singapore some 35 years ago, I had a number of Asian Muslims on my staff. They were wonderful people. My wife and I were even invited to their family weddings. And I learned a lot about them. They have an obligation to go to Mecca once in their lives. It’s called The Haj. And when they come back, their name isn’t Mr….. any more – it’s Haji (pilgrim). But these were not the radicalised Muslims we hear so much about. And it’s the radicalised Muslims who give Islam such a bad name. But when you’re walking down the street, how do you to tell the difference between an peaceful Muslim and a radicalised Muslim – I just don’t know. I just wish the ordinary Muslims would speak up against the nasties.

    • spanishbride

      I am hoping to help them do that, ” speak up” as well as work with them to put pressure on our government to change our immigration policies and proceedures

  • Well done Pete. A reminder that Whaleoil represents several distinct personalities and a surprisingly diverse, and genuine, community.

    We are in Sri Lanka for a month and our driver for most of that time is a pleasant young Muslim man. We don’t eat meat here because it increases our chances of getting sick, he because he doesn’t know how it was slaughtered. His wife covers her hair and doesn’t drive. So we are guessing they are culturally conservative. Our tuc-tuc driver in Kochin last year was Muslim too and another nice guy. They are both rubbing along as a minority in their communities. I find it hard to believe either would mutilate their daughters.

    I do believe the right thing to do is engage as best we can with other people while standing up strongly for our own values. Strangely enough most of our friends are a bunch of lefties (we love them all) and would agree with both parts of that proposition.

    • Sally

      We had a muslim driver in Kenya. At all times felt very comfortable with him. The only times he was judgemental on his fellow citizen was a small town which was predominately muslim. He told us he didn’t like showing tourists that town as the inhabitants gave a bad image to the tourists. We would never known he was a muslim unless he told us.

  • hookerphil

    This is seemingly a “road to Damascus” moment. My only problem with it is that there is a major difference between Jesus and The Ahmadiyya. It is great things went so well and I hope that future verbal intercourse can be carried out with the mainstream Sunni and particularly Salafists.

    • More of a realisation that the path we have been on is likely to get us more of what we don’t want to see happen. I feel it is the hard and uncomfortable thing to take stock and try something else. It was much easier to continue to write blanket posts about Islam safe behind a keyboard in an undisclosed location.

      And let’s be fair. If this issue is Everest, all I am ever going to aspire to is Base Camp. And today, I took the first step off the plane at the airport.

      It’s a long, long way to go.

  • sandalwood789

    First off, I’ll say where I’m coming from. I’m very aware of Islam’s murderous record (that is continuing to this day).
    I find it impossible to trust someone who belongs to a group that has murdered an estimated 270 million innocent people (and counting).
    That may be harsh but it’s how I feel.

    I wouldn’t trust Nazis either and they killed far fewer people than Islam has.

    The thing is – isn’t Islam itself worth fighting against? If it is, how do you do that if you take a “mushy” approach to Muslims themselves? The contradiction seems irreconcilable to me.
    “Oh, hello Mr Hafeez – nice to see you! Sorry that I’m objecting to the new mosque down the road.”
    See what I mean? It’s almost *hypocritical*.

    I see real danger in going too soft on Islam. *Someone* has to be the tough-guy who holds it to account. If everyone “goes soft” then that’s exactly what the “bad Muslims” want!

    • Let’s figure it out.

      Because sitting back and doing nothing seems to get us in a position where Brussels and Paris are at.

      • sandalwood789

        Ok.

        What I *will* say is that I do see some value in an open and frank exchange of views with Muslims. In such an exchange, if they can comment on us and we can comment on them, that seems good to me.

        For example – I am interested to know if any Muslims feel shame at the (estimated) 270 million people killed in the name of Islam.

        • I’m sure I can find some that genuinely do. And some that genuinely don’t. And some that have no real feeling on the matter.

          How does that advance our knowledge or our position?

          But if you want me to parade a Muslim that feels genuinely troubled about 270 million deaths in the name of Islam, I now feel confident I can deliver.

          I just don’t see where that gets us.

          • sandalwood789

            “I just don’t see where that gets us.”

            It gets Westerners and Muslims talking. “Longest journey begins with a single step” and all that.

          • spanishbride

            I am more interested in finding Muslims who will work with representatives of other faiths including Jews to put political pressure on our government to tightly screen immigrants and to keep out people who will do to our countries what has been done to Britain and the rest of Europe. The govt is more likely to listen if representatives from a wide range of faiths are represented. Otherwise it is seen as Islamophobia.Even the left will have trouble arguing with it don’t you think?

      • thesilentmajority

        Do you mean lets compromise and allow womens rights to fall back a few centuries?

        • spanishbride

          Never. I will never go soft on women’s rights issues, human rights issues and freedom of speech issues. Pete and I are not appeasers this is not appeasement it is dialogue. They are aware of how I feel about Sharia law for example I did not soft soap it and yet they are still willing to talk to us. We are well known for being extremely critical of the ideology of Islam.That has not changed.

      • SteveWrathall

        Actually “engaging” with Islam, is precisely what Europe has been doing for decades. Rolling out the red carpet, showering welfare and education on a culture that treats them with contempt, telling themselves the soothing narratives that these new Europeans only want a good life for their families and that the radicals are only a tiny minority.

        Many of us have “figured it out”: that we must avoid Europe’s mistakes.

        But yes, I am glad there is diversity of opinion in the Whaleoil staff

        • “Many of us have “figured it out”: that we must avoid Europe’s mistakes.”

          How?

          Do you think shunning those that live her will achieve that?

          • SteveWrathall

            Where have I ever advocated “shunning those that live here”? On the contrary they should be made to adhere to the same standards of human rights, children’s rights, freedom of speech etc. as the rest of us have to. No allowing sharia-dominated ghettos like in Europe.

  • SteveWrathall

    “Men upstairs, women downstairs. It’s all open, light, breezy and modern.”
    Any plans by this “modern” institution to end gender apartheid?

    • intelligentes candida diva

      In certain religious services I get the difference Jewish religion at funerals have females on one side of the room and men on the other

    • Maori protocol separates men and women as well.

      Let’s focus on the bigger things we disagree about. Like lopping off people’s heads and walking into an airport with a bomb. Once we stopped the indiscriminate killing, we can go back and see what we can do about other issues you feel need change.

      • SteveWrathall

        Actually Islam’s treatment of women (FGM, honour killings, legally worth 1/2 a man) probably causes more death and misery that the more “newsworthy” bombings & beheadings. Its dysfunctional relationships between the genders is also related to their almost total monopoly on terrorism today. As (Bill Maher?) said: it’s not that they think they’ll get 72 virgins, but so many ARE virgins.

        • So what do you propose we do with Muslims that live in New Zealand, those who have NZ Passports, and those that were born here?

          • SteveWrathall

            Hold them to the same standards as the rest of us: Take off your headgear in an exam, wear the same uniform as others if that’s what your job entails, no face coverings in situations where everyone else has to show their face, and be prepared to have your deepest beliefs ridiculed & satirised like Xtians do

          • spanishbride

            Yes equal treatment for all I totally agree.That has to be our benchmark. This is not an Islamic country and never will be if I have anything to do with it.

          • Bombastic

            Largely regard them as Kiwis if that’s the life they desire. And if they don’t, or new arrivals arriving with “interesting” views on is infidels, block or deport. My grandfather didn’t spend time as a “guest” of the Japanese in Singapore for no reason, and I will gladly bear arms in his honour to protect us in his name to do the same, should there be a similar threat to our society.

        • Bombastic

          Im only left with horror and disgust when I see the faces of Muslim women melted by acid. Or ones who have had their noses sliced off. Let’s by all means engage with Muslims if only to confront them with images of these atrocities and make it stop. But I fear no matter how much we engage from afar, there is no antidote to the reading of the literal verses that galvanise the men into committing such atrocities.

      • thesilentmajority

        “Lets focus on the bigger things”… Pete, the question of womens rights IS one of the bigger things! The Islam problem is not just about the violence towards us in the West, it is just as much about the violence towards and oppression of Muslim women.

        • spanishbride

          Sweden are trying to teach feminism and equality to their immigrants but because they failed to control and screen their immigrants at the start Swedish women are suffering big time. First things first. While Muslim numbers are low inside NZ they do not have the power to demand that we change to suit them. Once their numbers are high it is far too late. The best thing we can do right now for NZ women is to work towards keeping Muslim numbers low. That has to be a priority as statistically we know what happens in other countries once they are over 2% We already have Halal forced on us and they are not even 2% yet. We need to close the gate before the horse bolts.

  • Genevieve

    I welcome this post from Pete as it opens up the conversation about Islam to one that is not just based on dislike of an ideology, but actually starts to look at the people who are being targeted by this attitude. It is incredibly easy to get caught up in the anti-Muslim hype but good balanced journalism will look further than this.
    The concept of a self-fulfilling prophecy is important and it is worth considering that if innocent Muslim children are called terrorists by other NZ children, this may well create a future generation of Muslims who see no point in trying to defy the profiling/stereotypes.

  • KatB

    I’m pleased to hear visit went well and you seem to have got a lot out of it. It would be great to have the opportunity to see things first hand like that. I guess for me, I would treat each Muslim as I found them. I’m not going to randomly abuse somebody in the street who appears to be Muslim. I just hope we don’t accept practices from Muslims, we wouldn’t accept from each other, like face covering, when to us that is usually a sign of deception and not generally allowed for security reasons. Special privileges at work, or in society, or relaxation of security that the rest of us wouldn’t be privy to is something that we shouldn’t accept in the name of this religion. Assimilation is something we need to see from them. I guess unfortunately we don’t know that’s not happening until it’s too late.

  • intelligentes candida diva

    Fabulous and of course you would be welcomed and of course it would go well because it is The Ahmadiyya sect who strive to immerse into the host countrys culture while retaining their own ways and succeed so more power to them.

    I am interested in those that adhere to sharia and when challenged on Muhammed because that seems to be a sticking point between Islam and Western life including freedom of speech and womens rights now that is where the roads turns a bit potty holed and dangerous I think

    I look forward to engagements where the topic of Muhammed as a pedophile is raised

    Interestingly though I read today it was a young female Muslim who informed The Police in France about one of the Paris attackers so optimism is budding with hope of positive change.

    The Ahmadiyya sect are peaceful and have been targeted by other not so peaceful other Muslims

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2016/03/29/after-wishing-christians-a-happy-easter-a-beloved-glasgow-shopkeeper-is-allegedly-slain-by-another-muslim/

  • Bombastic

    I shall share my only meaningful personal encounter with a Muslim/Islam. About two years ago I’d just got into my car which was angle parked, the car next to me began reversing out of its park and took out the rear pasenger side of mine. I got out and began the usual “who’s your insurer” discussion. The Somali driver informed me that Allah forbids insurance and that because I wasn’t Muslim the incident was at Allah”s will. And added that I should “just accept the damage done” because I wasn’t a Muslim. Long story short, my insurance covered it, and they didn’t bother with a surrogated recovery because he was on welfare. Sorry, but some are indoctrinated to believe they are supreme because of their beliefs.

  • thesilentmajority

    Pete that is great and well done you. There are other aspects of Islam however that I worry about, outside of the terrorism/violence concerns which I agree do not appear to be a problem here in NZ yet. It is the view of women and their place in the world and gays, that worries me. On your next trip to the Mosque can you please ask the immam about these things and about how many Muslim women in NZ are wearing the hijab etc. Can you please ask him if they all wear it out of personal choice? If not, how many are forced to wear it? I am sure you will agree we can’t allow backward, antiquated attitudes towards women and gays here.

    • anniem

      I too would like answers to these questions please especially as regards the women?

  • rexabus

    Well meaning but naive I think. The same sort of decent reasoning I’m sure a lot of Europeans had and still have regarding muslim immigrants there. If only it was as simple as dealing just with individuals. It’s the steel backbone of islam behind the individuals is the problem. It’s a culture war from what I can see of what’s happening in Europe and I can’t see why once the numbers are here in nz why it won’t be game on here too. Not that I have any better solution sorry but I feel bending over for them and presenting the peaceful face of islam which while rounding out the picture is also with the positive pr enabling their gradual invasion.

    • spanishbride

      We are not bending over at all. I have learned a lot about politics working on this blog. It is political strategy to talk to people who are aligned in some way with your goals.Our government so far isn’t listening to our concerns and has said nothing and done nothing to show that they are taking the very real threat to NZ seriously.

  • PersonOfColor:WHITE

    As an example of Islam, you could not have picked a less representative sect than the Ahmadiyya. They are under threat in Europe as infidels by other Muslims. Read it here.

    • kereru

      This would put them in a similar category to the Baha’i who believe Bahá’u’lláh is the last prophet. They are also persecuted for their faith and are non-violent.

  • Duchess of Pork

    Just a small anomaly in this post which I think should be clarified. Mr Mohammed is quoted asking why it is that media do not report his public statements condemning terrorism and violence in the name of Islam. A quick google search reveals Mr Mohammed commenting on these matters in a Newshub article dated 30 January 2016, a Scoop article on 16 November 2015, and a NewstalkZB article dated 24 January 2015 and titled ‘Islamic conference campaigning against terrorism’. In addition Mr Basharat Khan, Acting president of the Ahmadi community is quoted in the Herald article of 23 March 2016 condemning the Brussels attacks as heinous and utterly humane. Mr Khan also issues an invitation to ” get in touch, and even open the doors of
    our mosque in South Auckland to anyone that is interested in seeing
    what real Islam teaches.” Admittedly not a comprehensive coverage but my search time was limited and did return most of the major media players.

  • “I have seen so many discussions on Islam without getting input from Muslim – It makes me sad but it is also our fault entirely for not being open on who we are.”

    You must be a huge fan of politics to still come to Whaleoil after the completely one sided anti Islam stance that has built over the years.

    If you wish to organise a formal invitation for Whaleoil to meet with representatives of your congregation, please do so. On behalf of Whaleoil, I am keen to widen our contacts into the Muslim community so we can be a conduit for their voices.

    Our readers are and will be able to make their own judgements. Whaleoil is in effect a “broad church” with many different opinions.

    But what unites us is the discovery of the truth.

    email: [email protected]

  • spanishbride

    Thank you for your comment. I am open to meeting with you and look forward to the opportunity. Since you are a reader of WO you know exactly what our concerns are. I will listen to your perspective.

  • Aylene Price

    Yeah we know the Ahmadiyya Muslim are the good guys, because the rest of the Muslims consider them heretical for being on too much of a friendly basis with the rest of us infidels. They are not exactly your quintessential follower of Islam, who are still as scary as hell.

    • Abdullah

      Hi Aylene, is this comment meant for me? If it is meant for me I would like to clarify this for you. Muslims do not consider Ahmadiyya as heretical because “they are friendly with the ‘infidels’ “. Almost all of the Muslims in NZ including myself are friendly with the ‘infidels’. In fact some of my good mates are not Muslim. The main difference between Ahmadiyya and Islam is the Creed (Aqeedah/عقيدة). Perhaps a skim read on the Wikipedia will give you some understanding of the Ahmadiyya – their belief, origin and who are the majority follower of the group.

      Thank you – have a great weekend!

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