New Zealand Muslim Leaders’ Symposium

Left to right - image of Wen Powles, Mrs Munira Khanum and Mrs Ann Pala

The Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand (FIANZ) and Waikato Muslim Association (WMA) jointly hosted the first New Zealand Muslim Leaders’ Symposium in Hamilton on 20 January 2018. The symposium brought together over a hundred Muslim leaders, including women and youth, from across the country to discuss opportunities and challenges, and set the strategic direction for the wider Muslim community.

Minister for Ethnic Communities, Hon Jenny Salesa, attended the day-long symposium as the guest speaker. In her speech the Minister acknowledged the social and economic contributions New Zealand Muslims have been making to the development of this country for over 140 years. She appreciated the diversity, cultural richness and talents the Muslim community brings to New Zealand society. The Minister was also delighted to have supported the initiative via the Ethnic Communities Development Fund.

The symposium featured three keynote presentations and nine group discussions. Participants had the opportunity to examine issues, challenges and opportunities for the development of Muslim communities in New Zealand. Some of the key discussions in the symposium included:

  • importance of leadership and strategic planning for Muslim communities;
  • planning for an inclusive society
  • how to integrate into society while maintaining Islamic identity
  • diversity and inclusion with special emphasis to gender, youth, elderly and ethnicity
  • promotion of social enterprise as a tool to enhance socio-economic development in Muslim communities.

The symposium created much enthusiasm and enhanced commitment to developing the strategic direction for Muslim communities in the regions.