The New Zealand Muslim Association (NZMA) hosted the YPO New Zealand Chapter of CEO’s at the Avondale Islamic Centre on Saturday 12 May 2018.  YPO is the world’s largest CEO organisation. The NZ chapter has members from all major sectors including retail, construction, services and manufacturing (food and non-food). CEO vist AIC2

The visit to the Avondale Islamic Centre was part of an education program organised by Andrew Smith, CEO of Prolife Foods. The theme of the program was to understand the multicultural aspects of Auckland as NZ’s largest city.  Over forty executives with their spouses attended this event, which provided an opportunity to build positive networks, understanding of NZ Muslim communities, which comprises of people from over 50 ethnicities and to learn about Islam as a religion of peace and tolerance.

Mushafiq Bhat was the MC for the event. The event started with a short prayer led by Sheikh Shaakir Ismail, Imam of the Avondale Islamic Centre.  Ikhlaq Kashkari, President of NZMA welcomed the guests and highlighted business opportunities that NZ businesses can gain through engagement with local Muslim community and by leveraging global halal business opportunities.  He also thanked the guests for taking the time to understand the issues of Muslims in a work environment. Andrew Smith, CEO Prolife in his welcome speech highlighted opportunities NZ businesses can gain through better understanding of multicultural NZ. Imam Shaakir Ismail, Imam of Avondale Islamic Centre provided a brief overview on Islam, values it promoted, role of a mosque in a day to day life of a Muslim. Sister Aminah Ghani briefly described her experience of being born and raised as a Muslim in NZ. She also shared her experience of wearing the Muslim attire (Hijab) and challenges that it posed while adjusting into the NZ society.

“Our time at the Mosque was most interesting – and a first time for a number of our members. The background on Islam from Sheikh Shaakir was thought provoking and stimulated a great conversation with our members that carried on over afternoon tea. Our biggest insight was that it is really important that Faith (any Faith) needs to be accompanied by tolerance for others. This tolerance can be greatly helped by better understanding of others. A big thank you to everyone at AIC for hosting our visit”…….Andrew Smith CEO Prolife Foods.

The event concluded with a Q&A session.