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Turia Speech: Federation of Islamic Associations

Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand

Silver Jubilee

Tariana Turia, Co-leader, Maori Party

Wednesday 16th November; 6pm

For over one billion Muslims throughout the world, the celebration of the end of Ramadhan is a very special month of the year.

As I understand this time, it is a period for inner reflection, for devotion to God and for self-control.

I find these notions interesting in that my people also believed that there was time for inner reflections, time for devotion to the Gods, and time for self-control.

As Ashraf would know, there are many times in this House my people call the Lion’s Den, where we have had to exercise all three of the above mentioned disciplines.

I consider myself fortunate to have come from a long line of reference points, which have guided and enabled me, to see, hear and read the world through my own eyes.

It is a world which teaches me to treasure diversity, to recognise that others see the world differently to the way I see it, and to be taught by that world, not to be threatened by difference.

It is a world which tells me that what we all have in common is the fact that we are all different. So you see, difference is something which is very common.

If we were all born the same, how would we know my brother from my sister, my mother from my father? Our gods deliberately created us different so that we would not bring confusion into the world.

Ramadhan symbolises understanding, tolerance and togetherness as catalysts for peace and harmony. Central to that, must be this recognition of the need to unite with, in order to struggle against.

Whatever political party, or religion, or belief system may be represented here tonight, we would hope that the struggle against the oppressive forces who want us to be like them, to think like them, to speak like them, to dress like them, to believe in their Gods, and to reject all that we are must be resisted.

We need to be able to celebrate our differences together. As tangata whenua and as members of the Maori Party, we welcome you and we implore that you continue to believe in your Gods, that you continue to celebrate who you are, that you continue to speak your language.

Do not forsake the essence of your souls.

We must look for that which unites us, rather than what divides us.

If we had a chance to talk together, we might find that the aspirations that you and I have, to live in a nation which is strong, where our people are healthy and vibrant, and where our future is secure, might be the same.

Na reira, tena tatou katoa. Ma o Atua koutou e manaaki, e tiaki i tenei wa.

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