The Muslim Community Reference Group was one way for Muslim communities to take part in the Royal Commission's inquiry.
The group was designed to be as representative as possible. Criteria for ensuring the right balance included gender, religious perspectives, ethnicity, age, geographical location and the member’s connections to their communities. Commissioners held nine hui (meetings) including eight full-day hui and one virtual hui over the course of the inquiry, gaining valuable insights and information.
Some Muslim Community Reference Group members undertook engagement on behalf of the Royal Commission, which was attended by the Commissioners, to help the Royal Commission engage more widely than it might otherwise have been able to.
Commissioners also held around 130 meetings with affected whānau of the 51 shuhada, and the survivors and witnesses of the terrorist attack and their whānau, and met with a range of Muslim community groups, experts and individuals throughout the inquiry.
The Royal Commission, with significant contributions from Muslim Community Reference Group, produced a companion document setting out the purpose, experience, benefits and reflections from their experience for the benefit of Public sector agencies future engagement with Muslim communities.
The Royal Commission set up the Muslim Community Reference Group to provide opportunities for Muslim communities to take part in the inquiry. Hui were held from July 2019 to November 2020 and each were independently facilitated.
The Reference Group was an advisory group.
Members had a direct line to the Royal Commission and could discuss issues directly with the two Members of the Royal Commission and the Executive Director of the Royal Commission. Members of the Reference Group had the opportunity to take part directly in the inquiry process by:
- sharing stories and lived experiences to inform the Royal Commission’s report;
- helping the Royal Commission identify questions to ask Public sector agencies in the information and evidence gathering phase;
- asking questions directly of the Royal Commission so that members could supply that information to Muslim communities
- offering practical assistance or guidance to the two Members of the Royal Commission, Executive Director and wider secretariat, on any emerging issues relating to the engagement and communications activities.
Community perspectives were a vital to the Royal Commission’s work.
How the Muslim Community Reference Group assisted community engagement
As set out in the Muslim Community Reference Group’s Terms of Reference, members took part directly in the inquiry process by:
- asking questions and challenging the Royal Commission to keep it accountable and reflective on its processes and progress
- providing advice using member’s knowledge and experience, to enrich the Royal Commission’s community engagement with Muslim communities
- critiquing, providing feedback and offering advice on the Royal Commission’s communications both with the Reference Group, and with wider Muslim communities and public engagement
- helping identify gaps and opportunities to reach communities of interest or people the Royal Commission needed to hear from
- at the end of the public submission process, providing feedback on the extent to which the Royal Commission has heard from a fair and reasonable range of views, and if there were outstanding points of view that had not been heard
- providing feedback on initial thinking by the Royal Commission about key themes, key findings, or key recommendations
- offering practical assistance or guidance on any emerging issues
Criteria used to select members of the Reference Group
The Muslim community is made up of many communities from across the world. The Royal Commission intended the Muslim Community Reference Group to reflect this diversity.
The following criteria were applied when selecting members:
- Gender with a desire to achieve a 50/50 ratio, if possible;
- Ethnicity with a desire to ensure a diverse range of ethnicities are represented;
- Age with a desire to ensure that the Reference Group includes a range of ages (including youth, adults and elders);
- Religious diversity with a desire to ensure different religious perspectives are represented; and
- Geographical location with a desire to ensure a geographical spread of Reference Group members, while acknowledging the attacks took place in Christchurch.
The Royal Commission also considered an individual’s potential to uniquely contribute to the inquiry, including the organisation(s) that the individual represented, was involved with or had connections to.
- Abdullah Drury
- Abdur Razzaq Khan
- Akram Kawa
- Aliya Danzeisen
- Altamash Askari
- Anjum Rahman
- Anmar Taufeek
- Dr Anwar Ghani
- Aya Al-Umari
- Azad Khan
- Bariz Shah
- Fatimah Ali
- Firoz Patel
- Haris Murtaza
- Ikhlaq Kashkari
- Jasim Adam
- Javed Dadabhai
- Kalim Ullah Khan
- Masooma Mehdi
- Dr Maysoon Salama
- Melissa Kuila Lama
- Mohamed Diab
- Sheikh Mohammad Amir
- Dr Mohammed Rizwan
- Noeleen van de Lisdonk
- Rafik Patel
- Regina Rasheed
- Rehanna Ali
- Sahra Ahmed
- Shadia Amin
- Shahed Abu Jwaied
- Shaymaa Arif
- Sondos Qur'aan
- Soraiya Daud
- Tyrone Smith
- Dr Zainab Radhi
- Zulfiqar Butt