By NANISE VOLAU
A MUSLIM cleric has rejected claims that members of his community pictured at Fiji’s Nadi International Airport were a threat to security.
“We are not terrorists,” Mohammed Abdul Rahim Saifi, the President of the Islamic Centre in Velovelo outside Lautoka said after of pictures a delegation of Muslims taken at the airport last week were circulated on social media.
Saifi said about 200 members of the Ghausia Foundation of the Islamic Centre in Lautoka were at the airport to greet three Pakistanis including Chief Priest , Peer Syed Ahmed Ali Shah Naqshbandi Saifi.
The men were in Fiji for a week-long spiritual gathering called Shaan E Auliya Ikraam.
“Another 100 followers (who arrived with the Pakistanis) were former Fiji residents,” Saifi said.
“They arrived on the same day, that’s why they were had blue passports.”
The delegation left on Wednesday.
Immigration Director Major Nemani Vuniwaqa told Islands Business they had no record of Muslims illegally entering the country.
“Anyone arriving into the country with blue passports are definitely Fiji citizens,” Vuniwaqa said.
The Foundation is a religious organization registered in Fiji with followers of Ahle Sunnah Wa'l Jama'at as members with a mission to practice and promote the religion of Islam based on Ahle Sunnah Wa’I Jama’ teachings.
He said, just like Christians, they travelled around the country spreading the word of God.
With more than 400 followers, the Foundation was established in 2013 after breaking away from the Fiji Muslim League.
Fiji Muslim League President Hafiz Khan confirmed that Saifi was a member of FML, but disappeared few years ago.
“He used to be an employee, worked as a librarian, but he now claimed to be the true leader.”
They also claimed to be original believers of the Muslims in Fiji, promoting peace and love.
“Our centre is open to everyone regardless of your ethnic and religious background,” he said.
“Islam is a religion of peace. This is the translation of Islam. God, in Islam, gives us two responsibilities: The first is to believe, to do good things, and not bad things. If we do bad things, God will judge us on Judgment Day.
“Our second duty as Sufi is to spread the word of God.
He said for many years Muslims had been trying to spread the word of God. Islam.
In this context, he said, Islam was not about conquering but peacefully spreading the word.