Posts Tagged ‘New Zealand Herald’

Auckland Muslim Jason Kennedy penned this open letter to New Zealand First MP Richard Prosser.

February 15, 2013

Auckland Muslim Jason Kennedy penned this open letter to New Zealand First MP Richard Prosser.

Jason Kennedy: An open letter to Richard Prosser


Submitter’s Note:

New Zealand MP Richard Prosser recently made some controversial (and “rather ridiculous and ignorant”!) statements about Muslims (and travel) in a column in the Investigate magazine, a “conservative” New Zealand Christian-based publication (one which seems to thrive on getting attention…welcome or otherwise!).

Here is an excellent, warm-spirited and rational response from a New Zealand Muslim, that I thought I’d share with you “out there”. Enjoy…


By Jason Kennedy

5:30 AM Thursday Feb 14, 2013

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Auckland Muslim Jason Kennedy penned this open letter to New Zealand First MP Richard Prosser.

Khayreyah Wahaab and Jason (Naveed) Kennedy have invited the MP to have dinner with them at their Auckland home to discuss his statements. Photo / Natalie Slade

Dear Mr Prosser,

Unbeknown to myself, I am your enemy.

I consider this strange as I have never met you and harbour no ill will toward you. I am certain that if I walked past you on the street your suspicions would not be raised. If you were a customer in my shop I am certain you would not suspect that I pose your family any risk. For you see, I am Muslim, I am 30, and I am also white. Throw in the fact that I am an American expatriate – accent and all – and I possess quite the subterfuge. After all, I could sit next to you on a flight, our arms negotiating the armrest for space, and you would think nothing of it. And yet if between us the subject of religion arose, my reply would disable you with fear.

Or so your column would lead me to believe.

I am writing an open letter to you out of sympathy, respect, and the desire for understanding. I do not write this so publicly in order to give your opinions greater status than they deserve. Instead, I hope to circumvent your vitriol from tainting the views of other people who, through lack of personal experience with the Muslim community, may be susceptible to your very limited and ignorant view of our religion and families.

I will start by, ironically, providing you with some defence. It is absolutely your right to speak your mind freely with whatever opinions you so wish. That is one of the great liberties of this nation.

But let me be clear: speaking your mind is your right as a private citizen. As a Member of Parliament, you are a public servant, and your public opinions need to be more carefully delivered. You must be aware that the words of MPs are granted greater political legitimacy than those of private citizens.

It is frightening when someone with so much power to sway the opinions of others is so cavalier in his delivery. We entrust MPs to make defensible, rational, and sympathetic judgments in pursuit of the common good. Counter to this, your words seek to generate divisiveness by fostering an indefensible ‘us’ versus ‘them’ mentality.

Do you actually believe Muslims are so different to you that we should be trusted less than any other human being? Wherefore this presumption that those who commit terrible crimes in the name of Islam are actually considered heroes or true Muslims by the rest of us? Are we really so homologous to you? Woe to the Sikh or Hindu who you might accidentally not recognise for a Muslim in your eagerness to incite fear, all the while I, the unrecognisable white Muslim, sits next to you.

For you see, if the subject of religion is never broached between us, you will feel safer the entire trip knowing you sit next to a safe and reliable Pakeha. Let me assure you, I want that plane to land safely just as much as you do. I have family and friends who I want to be around for a good long time, and so do they.

The only reason I can think that you would harbour such ill-sentiment is that you have very little first-hand experience with Muslims. I can relate. I was not born into a Muslim family. However, with age I came to recognise my beliefs were congruent with Islam. That seemed a bit of a scary prospect, as I am sure you can appreciate that there is a great deal of Islamophobia in the United States, as well.

Once I actually met some Kiwi Muslims, I quickly realised my presumptions were entirely inaccurate. Muslim culture is not some monolithic fiction. Muslims are just like the majority of Kiwis: we love our summer barbecues, we avidly follow the All Blacks’ domination of rugby, we wear jandals, we buy fush n’ chups down the road. You see, Muslims come from all different backgrounds. I was born in the US and descend from Irish stock. My wife was born in Fiji, and her Indian ancestors were relocated during the British slave trade. Many Kiwi Muslims are from India, the Middle East, east Africa, Indonesia, and Malaysia. We have all come here to share in what it means to be Kiwi. Between us we have a similar pathway to God, but we also respect that every non-Muslim is on their own pathway to God.

Your family and my family, we are each equally Kiwi, despite the fact that we may worship differently. We are equal to you in many other ways: my wife and I both happily pay the highest tax rate, our business creates revenue and employment for many New Zealanders, and our education benefits the New Zealand economy. We are even socially and politically active (gasp!).

If you think supporting terror is somehow intrinsic to Islam, or is somehow an inevitability of our religion, ask anyone in the Muslim community here: no one supports any act of violence or terror against any other living being, human or animal. That is what we call haram in Islam, which means “forbidden by God”. We have no support for terrorists who do such horrible things, and we cannot understand how they can call themselves Muslims. Their actions are entirely incompatible with Islam.

In order to establish better communication on this issue, my wife and I would like to invite you to dinner at our place the next time you are in Auckland. We would like to hear your story, and we would like to share ours. I believe that if you would grant us the pleasure of your company, it will give you a much more enlightened perspective on Muslims and Islam in general. I will leave my contact details with the editor if you wish to make good on our offer.

Two enemies who wish
to be your friends,
Jason (Naveed) Kennedy and
Khayreyah Wahaab


Shared by craig

“There is neither east nor west, tribe nor ethnicity, male or female, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist. Christian nor Jew. There is only a God-filled humanity.”

“What we believe is not nearly as important as how we relate, interact with each other… and how we live. Only when we can say, ‘I am first and foremost a human being, and second a Jew, Muslim, Shi’ite, a Sunni, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu ,or a Sikh…’ will we progress and break down barriers between peoples, nations and cultures, both east and west. Let not our beliefs , but our shared humanity (ALL of us) define who we really are. ” – craig

About the submitter:

In his various writings, little by little, one mind, one heart, one soul at a time, Craig strives to break down and economic, social, cultural and religious barriers. Craig believes that whilst we should celebrate our differences, what we share in the form of our common humanity is way more important than what divides us.

“Let not our different beliefs set us apart as human beings, but rather let the Spirit of our shared humanity be what defines and unites us as common citizens of our planet.”

– me

Together, one mind, one heart, one life at a time, let’s plant the seeds, the hope of a better and brighter future.

These writings may be freely published (with acknowledgment to the source, thanks).

“God is leading us to the light. What we learn in the darkness, we are to share in the eternal light.”


God is a mystery, a Creative Presence, the mystery, the Ultimate Source of Life, the Fountain of all Goodness, Who/That allows me to be who I really want to be and become.”

“Instead of the limits of borders (of countries and of our minds) let us and our leaders expand our sense of possibility… and together let’s look at building bridges to distant horizons, far and great. Lord, help us all lift our eyes a little higher.”

May YOU all find and experience the richness of God’s Mercy, Infinite Love and Grace

Let Moderate Islam be Heard: Husain

March 1, 2010

Let moderate Islam be heard: Husain
Sourced from

Mainstream Muslims need to conquer their fear of radicals and end the madness, says Ed Husain

Key words (Tags) : Ed Husain, Muslims, Moderate, Islam, Religion, Beliefs, Observer, New Zealand Herald

Muslims who live in Europe have a moral duty to present the true, benign face of their religion. Twenty out of 23 children chose to name their class teddy bear Muhammad. A rather sweet gesture, I think.
But no. In ultra-sensitive Sudan, parents and a staff member decided to complain against what they saw as a white, female, infidel British teacher insulting their religion. What was an innocent classroom gesture was, yet again, hijacked by Muslim extremists to threats of floggings and demands of shooting after Friday prayers in Khartoum last week.
Last year, it was the Danish cartoons. This year it is a teddy bear. What next? And why this repeated madness?
For me, it is not about the possible offence taken at perceived negative portrayals of Islamic symbols, but the repeated calls for death, lashings and stoning.
The medieval, literalist mindset that fails to comprehend the inhumane nature of these brutal and barbaric acts, often carried out against the defenceless, is the crux of the matter.

The Western media are right to hold a mirror to educated Muslims by highlighting these outdated practices. Only a week ago, a young Saudi gang rape victim, rather than being counselled and loved, was sentenced to 200 lashes.
If the young lady had been a wealthy Saudi with powerful connections, she would have escaped her punishment. Similarly, if Gillian Gibbons had not been British, there would not have been an outcry.
When Muslims want to appear sanctimonious about newspaper cartoons or a teddy bear, I ask where are the mass protests against the Saudi Wahhabite destruction of the birthplace of Muhammad in Mecca? Or the systematic annihilation of Muslim heritage in Medina? Or the organised desecration of the Prophet’s family’s tombs across Saudi Arabia?
We should not be hypocritical in our choice of protest. Mainstream Muslims cannot remain silent as our faith is destroyed by extremists from within, and mocked by agenda-driven, habitual Islam-haters from without.
We must have the courage to stand and reclaim our faith.
I write these lines from an international conference in Madrid, a city, like my home, London, that has suffered immensely from the Islamist-jihadist rage.
The ubiquitous question here has been: where is the voice of the Muslim majority? Part of the answer is that it is buried in fear of extremist reprisals and concern at breaking ranks with fellow Muslims only to be attacked by fundamentalist atheists for not going far enough.

Last week, I faced former Dutch MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who levelled exactly that criticism at me. How could I possibly believe? Another renowned British liberal called Islam “gobbledegook”. Despite being caught in crossfire between two extremes, I believe in a Muslim tradition, a spiritual path, that can bring harmony between Islam and the West and thereby rescue millions from misery, rigidity and oppression.
If anything, the modern West stems from a Judaeo-Christian-Islamic heritage. More than ever, Western Muslims need to stop viewing the world through bipolarised lenses – a them-and-us world view – and assert our Western belonging.

More than any other Muslim community across the world, those of us who were born, raised and educated in the west have access to both cultures – Islam and the West. It is my generation that can bridge the gap between what seem like warring parties.

The presence of millions of Muslims in the West is an asset. But Western Muslims must, in the words of Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, “build our home together” with fellow citizens of all and no faith.
It is our common bond, being human, which comes first. Our future must be a negotiated one. The Koran repeatedly calls us to think, contemplate and reflect
. For how much longer will we be the laughing stock of the world? And all over a teddy bear.

* Ed Husain is author of The Islamist, a book published this year describing his becoming an Islamic fundamentalist, but rejecting it five years later.
– Observer


“Whilst we can (and should) celebrate our differences (unique), let not our varying beliefs divide us, but let the Spirit of our shared humanity be what defines and unites us all as common citizens of our planet.”


“Together, one mind, one heart, one life, one small step at a time, let’s link hands and march into a new tomorrow, a better and brighter future. TOGETHER we can do it”

– c

“Instead of the limits of borders (of countries and of our minds) let us and our leaders expand our sense of possibility… and together let’s look at building bridges to distant horizons, far and great. Lord, help us all lift our eyes a little higher.”