Religious attitudes to racism

Public Meeting Online
Tuesday 30 June 2020, 7:30pm on Zoom

Video from the event:

We need to talk.

In the wake of Black Lives Matter, we need to talk about racism. Each of the three Abrahamic religions – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam – has a chequered history of how we treat “the other”, and all three religions have also been on the receiving end of hatred.

But what do our prophets, our history, our traditions, and our lived experience in the contemporary world tell us about racism in the twenty-first century?

Come join our Zoom meeting, where we’ll discuss how our three Abrahamic religions approach racism.

ChairProf Paul Morris, Victoria University
ModeratorMeng Foon, Race Relations Commissioner
JewishJuliet Moses, NZ Jewish Council
ChristianCharles Waldegrave, Family Centre Social Policy Research Unit
MuslimAnjum Rahman, Inclusive Aotearoa Collective

There will be time for questions and answers immediately following the panel discussion.

We hope to see you there.

For further information, contact the meeting host, Dave Moskovitz, or phone 027 220 2202.

Abrahamic Meditation Session

Sunday 7 June 2020 at 2pm on Zoom

Lets take a sacred pause together during this time of The Great Pause.

Some time to sit together

Pray together

Breathe together

Be together for a precious hour on a Sunday afternoon

JoEllen Duckor will lead us in meditation that resonates with our Jewish, Christian, and Muslim traditions.

All welcome, but RSVP essential. Email for an invitation to the Zoom call.

51 seconds for Christchurch on 15 April

Jews, Christians, and Muslims will be falling silent for 51 seconds at 1:40pm on 15 April to remember the Christchurch mosque attacks of 2019. National and local commemorations for the attacks were cancelled last month due to COVID-19, and this is a chance for people to remember the attacks in their own way.

“With the whole country in lockdown, it’s more important now than ever to act together, and pause briefly in silence to think about how we can make our society more inclusive,” says Dave Moskovitz, the Jewish Co-Chair of the Wellington Abrahamic Council of Jews, Christians, and Muslims. “We’re asking people in each household to take less than a minute out of their day on 15 April to think: what can I do, what can our community do, and what can New Zealand do to stop hatred in our thoughts, words, and actions?”

Christian Co-chair Father Ron Bennett adds, “We’re a month late for the 15 March anniversary. It’s sad that commemorations were cancelled last month, but we couldn’t let this important event in New Zealand history go unmarked. We’re asking people to take 51 seconds – that’s one second for each life lost in the attacks – to build a more compassionate society. COVID-19 might slow us down, but it can’t stop us. Better late than never.”

Islamic Women’s Council of NZ Coordinator Anjum Rahman says that it is not Muslim practice to commemorate the deaths of specific people as death is a transition from one stage of life to another. “These attacks had a strong impact on our wider society. Many of us feel less safe now than we did before the attacks, and every person in our country has the basic human right to not fear for their lives, no matter what their religious beliefs are, nor how they might identify as a person. Celebrating difference and valuing others is the best way to counter hate.”

So on 15 April, take 51 seconds to remember the Christchurch mosque shootings, and join Jews, Christains, and Muslims around the country to think about how we’ve changed, and what we can do to make our society more inclusive. Please share this, and invite your friends to our Facebook Event.

Lessons from the Life of Abraham – 25 March 2020

Video from the event:

IMPORTANT UPDATE: This meeting will now be held as an online meeting; see instructions below for how to join.

Public Meeting – Lessons from the Life of Abraham

Wednesday 25 March 2020, 7pm

All welcome

Due to the current COVID-19 situation, this meeting will be held electronically on Zoom. To join the meeting, point your browser at this link:

If you’ve never used Zoom before, you might like to watch this tutorial which shows you how to join a Zoom meeting.

Please join us for this interactive meeting. There will be an opportunity to ask questions and engage in discussion at the end of the presentations by the speakers.


Jewish Rabbi Ariel Tal
Christian David Wardle
Muslim Tahir Nawaz

Abraham is the common ancestor of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam – we call them the three Abrahamic religions.

The story of Abraham’s life is recounted and interpreted in different ways in each of these three religions, and each religion carries interesting lessons for all of our religions. Although rooted in antiquity, many of these lessons have great relevance to our lives in contemporary times.

Come join us as we learn from different perspectives from each other about the person we regard as the founder of our three great religions.

You can help publicise this event by downloading and printing our attractive flyer.

Peacenic – a picnic for peace

What: Wellington Peacenic
Where: Te Ngākau / Wellington Civic Square
When: Sunday 23 February 2020, 11:45am – 3:00pm

Join us for the first Wellington Peacenic, a picnic for peace!

Peacenic began in Auckland in 2016. It grew out of a desire to replace the polarising bad-news stories that dominate the media with real experiences of hospitality and friendship in our own backyard. The simplest gift of sharing time and food together is rewarding in itself but goes beyond that to offer a glimpse of the world as it could be. In our increasingly multi-religious, multi-ethnic community, we want to help build bridges across the divisions that have historically separated Muslims, Jews and Christians.

Rick The Clown will perform at midday.

Bring a picnic blanket to sit on and food to share but be sensitive about other faiths’ dietary requirements – ask if you are not sure.

Parking charges usually apply in the city so consider car pooling or using public transport.

You can help publicise our event by printing out and posting our event flyer. Thanks!

Religious Diversity Workshop for Young Adults 18-35

When: Thursday 31 October 2019 4-9pm
Where: Wellington Islamic Centre, 7 Queen’s Drive, Kilbirnie

Tickets are mandatory for this event. You can purchase tickets on Eventbrite.

Religious Diversity: Encountering other religions

The Religious Diversity and Anti-discrimination workshop is designed to facilitate safe and productive interreligious encounters between Jewish, Christian, and Muslim young adults (18-35).

Workshop Participants will:

  • Share experiences of religion, ethnicity and culture within a safe environment
  • Explore the meaning, impact and issues of religious diversity in Aotearoa New Zealand
  • Address local manifestations of stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination related to religion
  • Develop skills for creating inclusive intercultural environments.

The workshop will be highly interactive, fun, and challenging. It will be led by two facilitators trained and accredited by the internationally acclaimed Belieforama Programme. It is provided by the Religious Diversity Centre of Aotearoa / New Zealand in conjunction with the Wellington Abrahamic Council.

Please help us by promoting this event to young adults in your synagogue, church, or mosque.

Image credit: Aia Fernandez

CANCELLED – Public event: The Imam and the Pastor in person

Unfortunately, due to hiccups in their travel plans, The Imam and the Pastor won’t be able to make it to Wellington this time. We apologise for the inconvenience.

You may recall in February 2016, we showed a screening of the movie The Imam and the Pastor in Wellington, documenting how two bitter enemies became best friends, and overcame religious and racial strife to bring about peace and reconciliation in Nigeria and Kenya.

We are pleased that Imam Muhammad Ashafa and Pastor James Wuye will be in Wellington as part of their New Zealand tour, and will tell us about their experience in coming together to understand each other and each others’ religions.

Special thanks to the Initiatives of Change for making the tour and this event possible.

Religious Responses to the Climate Change Crisis

Public Meeting Announcement

Religious Responses to the Climate Change Crisis

Are you concerned about the climate change crisis? Join us for a special talk and discussion:

Saturday 3 August, 5pm – 6:30pm
Wellington Islamic Centre
9 Queens Drive, Kilbirnie

The discussion will be led by Rabbi Jonathan Keren-Black from the Leo Baeck Centre in Melbourne, and will cover:

  • The work of the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change and what we can learn in NZ
  • Our shared religious traditions of Jews, Christians, and Muslims in caring for the planet
  • The role of faith-based people in overcoming the crisis
  • What we can do in our own congregations and the Abrahamic and Interfaith communities

Rabbi Jonathan is passionate about climate issues, and has been active in this area for many years. He was also the founder of the Jewish Christian Muslim Association of Australia, and continues to strive for interfaith understanding.

This event is being held in conjunction with Temple Sinai’s 60th anniversary celebrations.

You can help get the word out about this event by downloading, printing, and distributing our attractive poster.

Reflecting on our faith and belonging post Christchurch

In this short interfaith roundtable, Professor Stephen Dobson (Dean, Faculty of Education, Victoria University of Wellington), Hon Luamanavao Dame Winnie Laban (Assistant Vice Chancellor Pasifika, Victoria University of Wellington), Prof Mohamad Abdalla (Director, Centre for Islamic Thought and Education, University of South Australia), and Tahir Nawaz (President of the International Muslim Association of New Zealand, and member of the Wellington Abrahamic Council) discuss wellbeing, and how to be well in multiple cultures.

We need to be speaking about the interconnectedness of civilisations as opposed to the clash of civilisations.

Prof Mohamad Abdalla

Thank You NZ from the Muslim Community

Thank you, New Zealand

I want the world to know the appreciation, love, and gratitude we have for New Zealand.

Thank you for the way you handled the unthinkable catastrophe that struck this nation on Friday 15 March 2019.

No nation is immune to such events but we are remembered for how we handle them. Thank you for showing the world how to deal with disasters of this magnitude.

Thank you to the people of this blessed nation. It was never easy but you showered the victims with care.

Thank you to the Government, with all its agencies, units and branches. Thank you to the Prime Minister for her leadership as we grieved and mourned. Her honest and personal approach, along with her swift actions, showered love and compassion on the nation.

Thank you to the law enforcement agencies, with all its units. Thank you to our health professionals. Thank you to the NGOs, political parties, community leaders, individuals, churches, synagogues, temples and people of other faiths, as well as the general public.

The intention was to strike at our core values, our social, political and religious fabric, our identity as a nation and our dignity as New Zealanders. Our enemy intended to weaken us. Instead, New Zealand emerged stronger, more united, and harmonious.

We must learn positive lessons from this tragedy and redouble our efforts to protect our future. We must enhance our education system. We must focus on our youth.

Above all, we must strengthen our ethnic relations so that we can build a better future for our nation, our children, and so that no evil action can divide us.

Tahir Nawaz, Muslim leader
President, International Muslim Association of New Zealand
Member, Wellington Abrahamic Council