The New Zealand government sponsored the “He Whenua Taurikura” conference over 15-16 June 2021 on countering terrorism and violent extremism, at the Christchurch Town Hall.

This event focused on preparing New Zealand for future national security threats. Almost 300 folk were in attendance – mostly civil servants, academics, journalists, and representatives of several civic, ethnic and faith groups.

Topics included balancing the preservation of freedom of speech and civil liberties, building a society that is resilient in the face of fanatic or violent extremism, supporting individuals at risk of radicalisation, and solving terrorism through the Treaty of Waitangi.

It is indeed useful and utilitarian to disaggregate the critique of structure from the critique of deceit. All the speakers honoured the 51 shuhada (martyrs) who died in the 2019 mosque massacre and asserted the conference would serve to bring together community groups and government to listen, share and learn from each other.

During the event, several prominent Muslim attendees shared experiences, opinions, thoughts and suggestions for consideration for the future. In summary, it was a compelling series of arguments and presentations.

A closer examination of the realities of Islam in New Zealand for example, disrupt or challenge popular mis-conceptualisations and ideologically motivated Islamophobia which often dominate or influence non-Muslim media and literature on the faith.

In fact Islam, like Christianity, remains a significant cultural force and a critical identity marker in the largely secularised, multi-cultural society of modern New Zealand.

The position of Islamic philosophy and broader Muslim comprehensions of the wider, international philosophy remains determined by contemporary cultural, educational and social factors rather than by religious ideas alone.

Furthermore, this popular understanding of philosophy demonstrates more intellectual flexibility than is often credited or assumed.

Eid ul Adha 2021 will be a period of happiness and devotion for Muslims around the planet, including those of New Zealand.

We remember the story of Ibrahim and the necessity of sacrifice in the creation of the better world in both the spiritual and mundane worlds. We read and recite the Quran, and reflect on those ancient words of wisdom to improve our faith in the Almighty.

Eid ul Adha prompts us in our primary duty to worship the Almighty as best we can. We would have sharpened our personal spiritual focus during the festival and then our lives should be guided by these pious qualities for the rest of the year.

Events of the past two years have reminded us all that the Holy Quran remains our primary guide within the chaos of modern life and our Islam offers us optimism for a brighter future.