Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand

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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. A consensus was reached and it was agreed to meet again for further talks and on 15 April 1979 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 and Dr Hajji Hanif Quazi was the first Secretary-General.

Developmental history[edit]

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[1] 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.

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).

Sheikh Airot, Imam of Ponsonby Mosque (Auckland, New Zealand) and Mazhar Krasniqi, Q.S.M. Venue - Silver Jubilee celebrations of the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand (FIANZ), 16 November 2005, Parliament House, Wellington, New Zealand.

Former FIANZ presidents[edit]

  • 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 - Dr Mohammad Hanif Quazi
  • 23 April 1984 - Dr Hajji Muhammed Ashraf Choudhary, Q.S.O.
  • 14 April 1985 - Dr Hajji Muhammed Ashraf Choudhary, Q.S.O.
  • 10–11 May 1986 - Dr Hajji Khalid Rashid Sandhu, Q.S.O.
  • 2 May 1987 - Dr Hajji Khalid Rashid Sandhu, Q.S.O.
  • 21–22 May 1988 - Dr Hajji Saleh Al Samahy
  • 24–25 June 1989 - Dr 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 - Dr Hajji Anwar-ul Ghani
  • 12–13 June 1999 - Dr Hajji Anwar-ul Ghani
  • 26–27 May 2001 - Dr Hajji Anwar-ul Ghani
  • 28–29 June 2003 - Muhammed Javed (Zaved) Iqbal Khan
  • 18 July 2009 - Dr 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. In order 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”.
Canterbury Mosque, New Zealand; June 2006. Built over 1984–85, it was the world's southernmost mosque until 1999.

Current executive committee[edit]

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 serious and ongoing complaints directed at the Federation. The most serious issue centres around whether FIANZ is primarily a religious minority organisation or an ethnic minority cultural outfit : it has been suggested that the Federation conducts its affairs more like a Third World organisation than a New Zealand one. As early as 1983 one Arab Muslim resident in Wellington dismissed FIANZ as "a group of Fijian labourers".[2] More recently FIANZ leadership was tagged "..as a conservative businessmen's club of relaxed Muslims, well integrated in New Zealand society and benignly sexist."[3]

Other lingering criticisms reflect cultural matters.[4] Despite a veritable obsession with the "public" appearance of following the Sunnah, the Federation in fact remains a very personal vehicle. At critical and often seemingly random points, administrative decisions and recognisable general policies (or perspectives), hold little grip : highly subjective evaluations seem to spontaneously decide and attempt to smother further communal discussion on various issues. Positions within the Federation Executive Committee and staff (and indeed staff salaries) seem to be settled less by actual talent or qualification than by arbitrary and fluctuating whims. Above all other considerations, it appears to be the largely undefined and changing will of the Federation president that determines policy which is later presented as conforming to the Sunnah. A good example of this has been the recent (2008–2010) dispute over the Halal certification of Nando's in New Zealand : after securing the approval of the Federation ulema FIANZ issued a Halal certificate for chickens served at the restaurant chain, however many Muslims remain unconvinced pointing to the machine-kill of the chooks (which many Muslims find unacceptable).

There is a widespread suspicion among many New Zealand Muslims that a vague small fluctuating group - a Nomenklatura - are manipulating the Federation to keep themselves in positions of authority without any real interest in either advancing the welfare of the New Zealand Muslim minority or spreading Islam in the country. The president selects his Executive Committee from among the most compliant members of the Federation Council at an AGM and then determines their tasks, not according to the legal constitution, but according to personal ambition : he decides his own role within the Federation, and his own tasks and even his own successor. Organised chaos.[5]

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.


  • Berryman, Warren, and Draper, John, “Meat exporters resist costly Islamic crusade” in The National Business Review (May, 1979), Volume 9, No.16 (Issue 333), p. 1.
  • Bishop, Martin C., ` “A History of the Muslim Community in New Zealand to 1980”, thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the degree of M.A. in history at the University of Waikato’ (Waikato University, 1997).
  • “Growing Support For Queen St Protest March” in The Auckland Star (26 August 1968), p. 3.
  • "3000 stage city protest” in The Auckland Star (28 August 1968), p. 1.
  • Clarke, Ian, "ESSENTIALISING ISLAM: MULTICULTURALISM AND ISLAMIC POLITICS IN NEW ZEALAND" in New Zealand Journal of Asian Studies 8, 2 (December, 2006) pages. 69-96.
  • Berryman, Warren, "Insensitivities created halal meat difficulties" in The National Business Review (19 December 1983), page.13.
  • De Graaf, Peter, “The Kiwi Kosovars” in Metro (June, 2001), pp. 89–93.
  • Drury, Abdullah, “A Short History of the Ponsonby Mosque, New Zealand” in Al-Nahdah (Malaysia), Vol.19, No.3, pp. 36–38.
  • Drury, Abdullah, “A Short History: New Zealand’s First Mosque” in The Muslim World League Journal (Dhul-Qa‘adah 1421 - February 2001), Vol.28, No.11, pp. 45–48.
  • Drury, Abdullah, “A Short History of the Ponsonby Mosque, Auckland” in Da’wah Highlights (Rabi-ul Awwal 1422 - June 2001), Vol.XII, Issue 6, pp. 43–50.
  • Drury, Abdullah, “A Tribute to the Illyrian Pioneers” in Al Mujaddid (March 2002 - Muharram 1423), Vol.1, No.16, p. 10.
  • Drury, Abdullah, "Islamic federation milestone a good time for soul-searching" in The New Zealand Herald (24 August 2009).
  • Drury, Abdullah, “Mazhar Krasniqi Now QSM” in Al Mujaddid (20 March 2003 - Muharram 1424), p. 16.
  • Drury, Abdullah, “Mazharbeg” in Al Mujaddid (21 June 2003 - Rabiul Thani 1424), Vol.1, p. 14.
  • “Islamic Meat Trade” in The Otago Daily Times (12 March 1979), p. 1.
  • Krasniqi, Mazhar, “Message” in Al Mujaddid (January 2000), p. 4.
  • MacIntyre, Dave, “$3m Being Sent To NZ For Building Of Two Mosques” in The Evening Post (29 November 1978), p. 44.
  • Mannion, Robert, “Moslems Caught in Classic Dilemma” in The Dominion Sunday Times (26 February 1989), p. 11.
  • “Mohammad Sharif Madhavi Hojatol Islam spends most of his time supervising halal killing in freezing works.” in The Auckland Star (14 April 1980), p. 7.
  • Moore, Leanne, “Muslims and Catholics in single salute” in The New Zealand Herald (30 September 1995), p. 24.
  • “Muslims plan mosque for city” in The Auckland Star (4 January 1956), p. 5.
  • “Muslims Raising Meat Deal Snags” in The Evening Post (4 August 1979), p. 8.
  • “Obituary Notice” in Al Mujaddid (December 2001 - Shawaal 1422), Vol.1, No.15, p. 9.
  • “Obituary” in RISEAP Newsletter (December 2001), p. 4.
  • Sheppard, William, "The Muslim Community in New Zealand", Chapter 5 in Indians in New Zealand, ed. K.N. Tiwari (Wellington, N.Z.: Price-Milburn, 1980). [Purely historical interest; has no content that is not found in other articles.]
  • Sheppard, William, "Muslims in New Zealand", The Journal of the Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs (Riyadh), 4/1-2 (1982): 60–81.
  • Sheppard, William, "The Islamic Contribution: Muslims in New Zealand", in Religion in New Zealand Society, Second Edition, eds Brian Colless & Peter Donovan (Palmerston North, New Zealand: Dunmore Press, 1985), pp. 181–213.
  • Sheppard, William, "Muslims in New Zealand", The Journal of the Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs (Riyadh), 16/2 (1996): 211–232. [Updates 1982 article to 1991.]
  • Sheppard, William, “Australia and New Zealand”, authored jointly with Michael Humphrey, in Islam Outside the Arab World, eds. David Westerlund and Ingvar Svanberg, Surrey: Curzon Press, 1999, pp. 278–294.
  • Sheppard, William, "Muslims in New Zealand" in Muslim Minorities in the West: Visible and Invisible, eds., Yvonne Y. Haddad and Jane I. Smith, Walnut Creek, etc.: Altamira Press, 2002, chapter 13.
  • Sheppard, William, “New Zealand’s Muslims And Their Organisations” New Zealand Journal of Asian Studies 8, 2 (December, 2006): 8–44. (cf. “Introduction: Muslims In New Zealand” in the next section)
  • Sheppard, William, “Introduction: Muslims In New Zealand”, New Zealand Journal of Asian Studies 8, 2 (December, 2006): 1–7. Co-authored with Erich Kolig.
  • Sheppard, William, "Australia and New Zealand", in The Oxford Encyclopaedia of the Modern Islamic World (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995), Vol. 1, pp. 154–5.
  • Trickett, Peter, “Minarets in Ponsonby” in The New Zealand Listener (21 April 1979), pp. 18–19.
  • Waja, Ismail, “50 Years Celebrations” in Al Mujaddid (July 2001), pp. 1–2, 7.
  • New Zealand Gazette (10 January 2003), Issue No.2., p. 83.
  • Zaman, Gul, “In Memory Of Marhum Demal Hodzic” in FIANZ News (March 2006), p. 7.


  1. ^ FIANZ Annual Report 2012
  2. ^ Warren Berryman, "Insensitivities created halal meat difficulties" in The National Business Review (19 December 1983), page.13.
  3. ^ Kolig, Erich, New Zealand's Muslims and Multiculturalism (2010) ISBN 978-90-04-17835-9, page.31.
  4. ^ Clarke, Ian (December 2006). "Essentialism Islam: Multiculturalism and Islamic Politics in New Zealand" (PDF). New Zealand Journal of Asian Studies 08 (02): 69–96. Retrieved 2009-10-10. 
  5. ^ See : Drury, Abdullah, Islamic federation milestone a good time for soul-searching in The New Zealand Herald (24 August 2009).