Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Religious Diversity

I won't reference anything here in this entry, I am just talking from a wealth of knowledge accumulated over 16 years.

Religious Diversity is something which has fascinated me this whole time.

Ever since I was 10, I would sit in my school library and read about all the different faiths of the world.

Indeed this is something of great interest to me.

Over the period of my short lifetime, I have visited a variety of churches, mosques, pagodas and temples. I have even visited a synagogue.

I've made contact with people from many different spiritual and religious backgrounds.

The human experience is enriched by faith. The diversity of our faiths, is one of the defining features of our humanity.

If I just focus on my own city of Auckland, New Zealand, I know of the 2 different synagogues in the city. One synagogue is for Orthodox Jews, while the other is for Reformed Jews.

The Manukau region has a variety of Mosques. In Manurewa, for example within kilometers of each other the Ahmaddiya mosque and Masjid Ayesha, 2 mosques with different views of Islam. Different again is Masjid At-Taqwa.

The whole Auckland region is host to many mosques, for the variety, not just of Sunni but Shia Muslims too, I have visited some of these.

I know the locations of and have visited some of the Hindu and Buddhist Temples of Auckland.

And I have visited 2 of South Auckland's Sikh temples, enjoying meals there.

One of the things that has always troubled me, even worried me, in terms of international issues, is Religious Intolerance particularly when this manifests as Religious persecution.

In the Judeo-Christian tradition, the first murder in history was an act of Religious intolerance, where the murderer was envious of the piety of his victim.

That tradition again records the 'feeding' of the first Christians to lions in Roman Gladiatorial stadia.

The Crusades on the 12th century were a religious war, as was the Spanish Inquisition.

Jews have been periodically persecuted, of recent memory the Nazi Holocaust.

Right Now, the religious persecution in Asia, Africa, Europe and the Middle East, seems to make headlines each day.

In some examples, religion can be perceived as the source of persecution and tolerance.

In my view, no great society or organisation can evolve and develop, let alone adequately function  without diversity.

We know in our own lives what it feels like when we are not accepted for how we live, or for what we believe in.

All the Great scriptures of the world call us to 'Love our Neighbour'.

The Holy Quran has  great advice, which was revealed very early on. In the 109th Chapter, it says
"To you be your religion, and to me be mine"

This verse highlights that we all inevitably have differences of opinion, thought and belief.

Indeed traditional Islamic society prided itself on allowing all people of all faith to practice their beliefs.

This was also extant in Ancient Vedic societies.

The Ancient America's, and the Pacific played host to a myriad of tribes and peoples and these too were societies were differing beliefs and religions flourished and co-existed.

In modern society, let me take an oppurtunity to call us all to emulate our Ancient ancestors in their tolerance and respect.

Indeed society will be much better off if we do.

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Islam, a Unique view

These are all ONLY my own thoughts

In other blog entries you can read of how I denounce terrorism.

On Youtube if you search Taufiq Boldy you'll find my reversion story.

You can read an article which tells you a little about me.

There is a Te Kaea interview and a Te Karere interview.

What I want to NOW share are some views on contemporary Islamic issues.

As you may've seen I converted in 2007. My practice in 2007 was more reflected in my dress and diet, where I visited and who I associated with.

My practice of Islam at that time was outward, and showy

Today though, I have changed. My views are different and I feel I have matured.

Islam is more about serving God, through loving my family and helping the wider community.

My connection to God now is through serving those that God loves.

I also have, what may be termed liberal views and liberal life choices.

That is personal, but in the wider context is still part of my Islam

Islam is a Life lived for God alone. My life does belong only to Almighty God.

It is not a perfect life, but it is a Life I dedicate to God

My Islam, follows the Prophet and his Holy Family (Shia)

This means that like all Muslims I await the Second coming of Jesus Christ, but I ALSO await the return of the Last Imam.

I have Faith in the Return of Christ and the Imam.

Christ as the Religious Authority as well as the Legal and Political Authority and the Imam as a Spiritual Guide.

I believe this must happen in the future.

In terms of the contemporary issues, like Groups trying to re-establish Islamic rule, I DO NOT Support this.

Not just because the actions of these groups strike terror and and are abhorrent, But also because this does NOT reflect Islam at all.

Islam is a religion of Peace.

I do believe that Divinity and Holy Law can one day be supreme on the Earth.

But I believe it is ONLY up to Jesus Christ (pbuh) and the Imam (pbuh) to usher this in.

I feel no one else can do this.

I feel that no one else can administer the Holy Shariah like a Prophet or an Imam.

I do not trust anyone else to do so.

I also don't think that God trusts anyone else to do so either.

That's what I want to say.

Please comment below

Email to discuss further.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Maori Muslim

Manako 16/12/2014

Kingi Taurua and TeRata Hikairo

K: There is certainly a lot for us to discuss tonight. So, tonight as we’ve seen on TV, hostages have been captured in Sydney, by someone believed to be a Muslim. TeRata Hikairo is our speaker tonight, TeRata is a Muslim, he has thoughts to share on what he believes. Good evening my friend, TeRata
T: My matua, my respected Ngapuhi elder Kingi, I greet you and all the listeners tonight. Firstly, to correct what you said, Islam is a religion of Peace, a religion of Love and a religion which takes care of people. Therefore these terrorist actions currently taking place in Sydney tonight, are those of 1 deranged individual. Such actions have no relation to Islam. That being said, my own family and friends say to me ‘You Muslims, you are terrorists’. My response tonight is that Terrorism has nothing to do with Muslims. We are condemning these actions.
K: It is very good that you say that. Expound more on what you say of love and care for people. Is that indeed what (Islam) is about?
T: Yes. Yes indeed. The essence of our faith, is a belief in God. The same essence that you’ll find in any Christian Church, any Synagogue and Hindu Temple. In fact all churches have Love and Peace. Islam is the same. Now, what frustrates me is that this is the 3rd time in a 1-2 week period, that I am again on Manako to broadcast that my religion is Peaceful, mine is a religion of Love, and is a religion of caring, NOT a Terrorist organisation. I’m frustrated that I have to continually do this, WHILE still remaining grateful that I can broadcast this truth, that it may be widely known that Muslims are a peaceful people.
K: Thank very much again, and it is great to hear you speaking our language, and that you come on Maori Radio. I acknowledge the ignorance of some in the different churches (organisations). It is also great to hear you talking more about this and of the passion of many in their support of your religion.
T: Indeed. In the last 30 years, we have had a lot of Muslims immigrate to New Zealand, and our numbers are the same, we are about 30,000. About 1000 of all Muslims in New Zealand, are ethnically Maori. Those are stats from Statistics New Zealand. Many New Zealand muslims, are business people, doctors, nurses, Kohanga teachers and Kura Kaupapa Teachers. We are just normal people.
But, some still think, that when Terrorist actions take place like in Australia, people think ‘That’s scary, these people are violent’. But NO. We are just like, Hindus, Christians and Jews. We are loving and peaceful.
K: Are there many Maori who are Muslim?
T: YES. Statistics say there are about 1000, from all the different Iwi. Many are in Auckland, some in Hastings, others in Christchurch. But yes there are 1000, according to statistics.
K: Thank you, Thank you. And do you pray to God?
T: Yes, yes indeed. In fact we share beliefs with Christians; We believe in Jesus Christ, Moses and Abraham (peace be upon them), We believe in Scripture, We pray, we give Charity, and all of these sorts of things. Just today, when I went to the Mosque, I saw Children learning Scriptures. That is it really. We are scriptural, prayerful and loving.
K: Our Government seeks to send troops to fight ISIS, What do you think about that?
T: The John Key-led Government will do as they do. I believe, that we really need to examine and understand our reasoning what our course of action might possibly be. I agree with sending Humanitarian Aid if Iraqi and Syrian civilians ask the NZ Government for Humanitarian Aid, to help parents and children there. Again, in my opinion, if NZ troops need to be deployed to train (Iraqi and Syrian) Armed forces, then this is OK. But in terms of direct combat, This worries me because I don’t want Kiwi troops placed in harm’s way, and I’d rather Kiwi troops be involved in peace-keeping. That’s my personal opinion.
K: And for your Maori Culture. You grew up with your Maori culture and your Maori language. How does that all fit in with you being Muslim?
T: For the majority of the 1000 Maori Muslims, and this is my opinion, we do not see the difference (what I’m saying may surprise some) BUT, We do not see the difference of the Old cultural values and our current religious values, values like; Taking care of women and upholding her status in society which is of high regard, taking care of the elderly, being hospitable, praying to God, caring for the environment, giving to the poor and all of these kinds of things. Tribalism, Tribal relationships, inter and intra family relationships, and the most important thing Spirituality. Yes, the names are different, in Maori God is IO Matua Kore (the Parentless God). The Quran says in Arabic:

This speaks of a Parentless God.
K: Oh my Friend!! Yes.
T: This concept of a Parentless God, is exactly the same.  But, that all being said. Returning to tonight’s topic, We hope that the whole community understands that we completely condemn Terrorism, because we are peaceful.
K: Thank YOU. It has been great speaking to you, we’ll certainly speak again, Thank you.
T: Thank you.
K: Listeners, that was the Muslim, TeRata Hikairo who spoke to us tonight. Good evening.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Maori Muslim condemns Sydney Siege


Tena Taatou katoa
Salaam aleykum

I give heartfelt greetings of love and peace

My prayers, thoughts and aroha are with the hostages and their whanau.
My heart goes out to those whanau.

I in no way sympathise, indeed I completely condemn the alleged gunman/gunmen, creating an alleged hostage situation in the Sydney CBD.

I express my anger and frustration at the use of sacred symbols of the Islamic faith, being used in this siege. This is tantamount to the Nazi distortion of the vedic Swastika.

I pray for the people of Sydney, I invoke Allah to protect the people of New South Wales and I continue to pray for the people of Australia.

-          TeRata Hikairo

Monday, 1 December 2014

Maori Muslim refutes ISIS

English Translation of Interview

Pier: Greetings everybody. It’s likely you’ve all heard of the war overseas in Syria, in the surrounding regions which involves ISIS. Joining me now is, one of us, his name is TeRata Hikairo and he has some thoughts about a certain Maori person who has been following and (reportedly) supports the fight of ISIS overseas. TeRata is on the phone now, Greetings TeRata.

TeRata: Greetings. Greeting Pier, Greetings to everyone listening across the nation. Tonight I greet you all with the warm and peaceful greetings of Islaam.

Pier: TeRata, for a long time we have observed one of ours from Ngati Kahungunu, one who has changed his name, one who now wears foreign clothes, and now he is being watched by the Government. His name is Te Amorangi Kireka-Whaanga, his new name is Izhaq Kireka-Whaanga, what do you have to say about Izhaq’s outbursts.

TeRata: First of all, I have met this man Sheikh Izhaq, who is a well-known New Zealander, despite his bad opinions, he is a well known person. BUT, in terms of what he says in support of Terrorists and the war of ISIS, the vast majority of and there are 1000 of us, and we are part of the wider Muslim Community of some 30-40000 in New Zealand, We are a Peaceful People, We are a prayerful people, We are a loving people, We are compassionate people, We take care of the elderly, of women and children. And therefore when someone comes out and says that they support Terrorism and the war of ISIS of Iraq and Syria, The vast majority of us DO NOT SUPPORT (that War or Terrorism). So yes, what Izhaq is saying is just outbursts, big silly outbursts, and these are Bad things to say. Insomuch as the vast majority of us are Peaceful.

Pier: TeRata, are you saying to that you are with Muslims, that you are a Muslim.

TeRata: It is known widely through Youtube, The Government, and through TV Media, it is known that I am Muslim. My Islam is demonstrated through my community and school work, and thus I am different to some Muslims. Insomuch as my Islam is of my heart, not by my clothes or my diet, or like what Izhaq does. But indeed by my community work, that shows my faith. My faith in who, in God. That is what we Muslims believe, what we all believe. In Maori God is known as Io Matua Kore, In Hebrew God is Elohim, in Arabic he is Allah, but God is One. And so, again to Emphasize, if one comes out saying that they support Terrorism, We as Muslims DO NOT ACTUALLY SUPPORT THIS, Because we are Peaceful.

Pier: We can see that there are indeed many Maori that have become Muslim, is this so?

TeRata: Yes yes. Statistics New Zealand, say that there are approx.. 1000. In these last 20-30 years the numbers continue to increase. It is known the world over that Islam is an expanding religion. It can be seen that many people, Pakeha, Maori, Samoan etc, Many are entering this Peaceful Religion.

Pier: What do you think is the problem with these Maori, Are they lonely? What makes them enter these new foreign religions?

TeRata: I have shared my opinion is past years. I have met elderly and people who are Izhaq’s age, and I believe that we are all Maori, but our opinions are not homogenous. Our blood and our genealogy is the same, but our thoughts can be different. But it does not matter who the Maori is, whether Kahungunu, Ngapuhi, Ngai Tai or Ngati Whatua, we as Maori believe in the same God. I have met many Maori of many different faiths and churches, and I have also met Maori who still pray and have the religion of our ancestors. Indeed, for the majority of Maori Muslims, we don’t see the difference between our old ways and the ways given us by God, in Islam. But obviously, everyone has a different view.

Pier: TeRata, in the old days, Maori were Anglican. Catholic or Mormon. What is wrong with these churches?

TeRata: There is absolutely nothing wrong with them. I take my answer from the Scriptures, like the Bible and the Quran and Book of Mormon which all empower the right of the person to choose their own path to God. Indeed, it has once been said; God is like the top of a Mountain. But there are many paths to get to the top of the Mountain. Much like we Muslims, who’ve chosen a particular path. But we are just like all our Maori. We still go to our Marae, just like any of our Christian or Jewish whanau. Though we have chosen a path, a different path, but a path nonetheless that gets to God.

Pier: TeRata the thing that worries your people about you, is that we see Muslims, who chop their enemy’s heads off and who hurt Pakeha and who hate Americans. This is a murderous religion. What do you have to say to that?

TeRata: Indeed. It is true that the TV media has portrayed this. I won’t refute that those images are broadcast. Because such things do exist.

But I for my part, read the Holy Quran, I have met people face to face. I have gone to mosques throughout NZ and overseas. The only people I have met there are Peaceful people.

So indeed there is a huge disconnect between what the TV Media portrays, and what my own eyes and ears have seen in Mosques and the homes of Muslims. What the TV Media portrays and what my eyes have seen in Mosques is completely different.

Therefore I see and I know, Much like tonight, where many people have seen and heard Sheikh Izhaq and believe he is a great Muslim, and that what he has to say is representative of all Muslims.

But when I see what he has said, I say, those are only his particular thoughts. Those are only his thoughts. Indeed the infinitesimally small band, much like ALL Groups and Churches, that think like Izhaq, is indeed very very small.

The vast majority of us 99% or even more, 99.99% do not believe in Terrorism, neither do we support Wars or Extremism. In fact we believe in the Peace and Love of God

Pier: TeRata, we have run out of time. But I really acknowledge the explanations that you have given and the great things that you have said, at another time we can talk more.

TeRata: Thank you Pier. Salaam aleykum.

Pier: That was TeRata Hikairo talking about Islam, which has been in all the nation’s newspapers. We continue to acknowledge him. This is all on Manako.