Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand
The Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand (FIANZ) was set up in April 1979 by Mazhar Krasniqi and other Muslim community leaders to draw together the regional Islam organisations of Auckland, Wellington and Canterbury into one centralised New Zealand-wide body.
Following the creation of the Muslim Association of Canterbury, local Muslims in Christchurch initiated correspondence with other Muslim organisations in Auckland and Wellington, with an eye towards creating a national Muslim organisation and helping to develop the Halal meat trade. On 18 November 1978 the first preparatory meeting was held in Christchurch : Hajji Abbas Ali and Robert "Abdul Salam" Drake (architect of the Ponsonby mosque) came representing Auckland; whilst Hajji Salamat Khan, Dr Hajji Khalid Rashid Sandhu and Abdul Rahman Khan came from Wellington ; Palmerston North was represented by Ali Taal, a postgraduate student from Gambia. Following two meetings in Palmerston North on 6 February 1979 and Auckland on 15 April 1989, a consensus was reached and the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand (FIANZ) was formally established. Auckland resident Mazhar Krasniqi (an Albanian SS Goya refugee from Kosovo) was the inaugural president, Dr Hajji Hanif Quazi was the first Secretary-General, and Haji Hussain Sahib was made the first FIANZ treasurer.
In 1981, Sheikh Khalid Hafiz was appointed Imam of Wellington, a post he held until his death in 1999, and employed as such by the International Muslim Association of New Zealand. Soon after his arrival, he was appointed senior religious adviser to the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand.
In June 1984, the Federation signed the first annual contract with the New Zealand Meat Producers Board (later the Meat Industry Association) to provide Halal certification services in exchange for a remuneration. The first contract was for $169,000 in 1984. Currently the figure is over one million dollars and helps subsidise much of the Islamic activities across New Zealand.
In April 1988, FIANZ held its first ever South Island AGM at the Canterbury mosque and Christchurch resident Dr Saleh Al Samahy from Saudi Arabia was elected president. A second South Island AGM was held at the mosque (in Riccarton) over 24–25 June 1989 where Dr Sandhu of Wellington was elected president and Dr Al Samahy was made vice-president. The following year a local convert to Islam, Soraiya Gilmour, was appointed FIANZ Treasurer.
Into the 21st century
In November 2005, the Federation celebrated its 25th anniversary (a year late) and Eid al Fitr in Parliament House, Wellington. The event was attended by the then FIANZ president Muhammed Javed (Zaved) Iqbal Khan (originally from Fiji), the inaugural president Mazhar Krasniqi, and a former president Dr Hajji Muhammed Ashraf Choudhary.
In June 2008, the "FIANZ First Stakeholders Forum" was organised by New Zealand government civil servants at the parliament in Wellington. The theme was "To Build Strong New Zealand Muslim Families" but only a few Muslims were actually invited. Ultimately the only respected and interesting[according to whom?] speaker was the Nigerian Dr Mustapha Farouk from Hamilton (whose name remains consistently misspelt in the FIANZ website). The following year, FIANZ organised the "FIANZ National Muslim Convention" over 24–25 October 2009 in Auckland and the theme was "Building Strong Muslim Families". This was attended by approximately 300 local Muslims. The most important[according to whom?] speaker was Dr Mustapha Farouk and FIANZ Assistant Secretary Brent "Abdul Lateef" Smith (a Major in the New Zealand army).
In response to the Canadian alt right activists Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux's planned tour of Auckland in early August 2018, the FIANZ's president Hazim Arafeh sent letters to the Immigration Minister, Ethnic Community Affairs Minister, and the New Zealand Human Rights Commission urging them to bar Southern entry on the grounds that she was abusing her free speech by promoting hatred against Muslims. On 6 July 2018, the Mayor of Auckland Phil Goff announced that the Auckland Council would not allows its venues to be used to promote "ethnic or religious tensions" and divisive speech. This forced the cancellation of Southern and Molyneux's tour due to the lack of other venues.
Former FIANZ presidents
- 15 April 1979 – Hajji Mazhar Krasniqi, Q.S.M.
- 15 September 1979 – Hajji Abdul Rahim Rasheed, Q.S.O.
- 6 April 1980 – Rahim Ghouri
- 18 April 1981 – Hajji Abdul Rahim Rasheed, Q.S.O.
- 10 April 1982 – Hajji Abdul Rahim Rasheed, Q.S.O.
- 2 April 1983 – Mohammad Hanif Quazi
- 23 April 1984 – Hajji Muhammed Ashraf Choudhary, Q.S.O.
- 14 April 1985 – Hajji Muhammed Ashraf Choudhary, Q.S.O.
- 10–11 May 1986 – Hajji Khalid Rashid Sandhu, Q.S.O.
- 2 May 1987 – Hajji Khalid Rashid Sandhu, Q.S.O.
- 21–22 May 1988 – Hajji Saleh Al Samahy
- 24–25 June 1989 – Hajji Khalid Rashid Sandhu, Q.S.O.
- 8–9 September 1990 – Abdur Rahman Khan
- 1991 – Muhammed Azim Khan
- 30–31 May 1992 – Hajji Abdul Hafeez Rasheed
- 19–20 June 1993 – Imam Ali
- 6–7 July 1996 – Imam Ali
- 13–14 June 1997 – Hajji Anwar-ul Ghani
- 12–13 June 1999 – Hajji Anwar-ul Ghani
- 26–27 May 2001 – Hajji Anwar-ul Ghani
- 28–29 June 2003 – Muhammed Javed (Zaved) Iqbal Khan
- 18 July 2009 – Hajji Anwar-ul Ghani
- 26–27 May 2015 – Hazim Arafeh
- NB. Over the past 25 years the FIANZ constitution has been amended on several occasions. Some presidents served terms of one year whilst others served two. To simply the information here, the dates and names presented are confirmed Annual General Meetings AND elections. Strictly speaking the elections are supposed to be held every "second quarter".
Current executive committee
The current (27 May 2015+) Executive Committee includes:
President – Hazim Arafeh / Manawatu Muslims Association
First Vice-President – Tahir Nawaz / President,International Muslim Association of New Zealand (Wellington)
Second Vice-President – Steve Ali Akbar / Otago Muslim Association
Secretary – Ibrar Sheikh / South Auckland Muslim Association
Assistant Secretary – Abdi Razak Ali / Waikato Muslim Association
Treasurer – Mohd Faiaz / New Zealand Muslim Association (Auckland)
Assistant Treasurer – Mohd Jama / Muslim Association of Canterbury
Over the past thirty years, with growing numbers of Muslims in New Zealand, there have been a number of complaints directed at the Federation. The most serious issue centres around whether FIANZ is primarily a religious minority organisation or an ethnic minority cultural one: it has been suggested that the Federation conducts its affairs more like those found within the Developing Nations rather than a New Zealand organisation. As early as 1983 one Arab Muslim resident in Wellington dismissed FIANZ as "a group of Fijian labourers". More recently FIANZ leadership was tagged "..as a conservative businessmen's club of relaxed Muslims, well integrated in New Zealand society and benignly sexist."
Other lingering criticisms reflect cultural matters. Despite a concern with the "public" appearance of following the Sunnah, the Federation has sometimes created the impression of acting as a personal vehicle for certain office bearers. On occasion highly subjective evaluations appear to have decided some issues rather than any discernable long term goals. Questions have been raised in the past regarding appointments to posts within the Federation apparatus.
There have also been criticisms directed at the close relationship between certain Federation leaders and the New Zealand Labour Party after it was disclosed that FIANZ had contributed over $10,000 to their failed 2008 election campaign.
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- Sheppard, William, “Introduction: Muslims In New Zealand”, New Zealand Journal of Asian Studies 8, 2 (December 2006): 1–7. Co-authored with Erich Kolig.
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- FIANZ 2005, pp. 12-13.
- Shepard 1982, pp. 68-69.
- FIANZ Annual Report 2012
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- FIANZ 2005, pp. 1, 4, 9, 11.
- Hatton, Emma (6 July 2018). "Far-right pair banned from speaking at Auckland Council venues - Phil Goff". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 9 July 2018. Italic or bold markup not allowed in:
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- Kolig, Erich, New Zealand's Muslims and Multiculturalism (2010) ISBN 978-90-04-17835-9, page.31.
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