The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has been working on the translation project' />

The Muslim holy book the Qur'an has been translated into Te Reo Maori.

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has been working on the translation project for more than 20 years and has translated just over half of the book. The 16 parts have been published into a book comprising of both the original Arabic text with Maori translation and was launched earlier today, the Pacific Media Watch website reported.

Dr Mohammad Shorab, local president of the Ahmadiyya Community, said he believed the translation of the Holy Qur'an was a great way to honour the community's motto: Love for all, hatred for none.

"Islam is a universal religion," said Dr Shorab.

"For that reason it is important to invest in other languages and traditions to gain a better understanding of the people around us."

Dr Shorab said the Qur'an was the most precious thing to Muslims and its translation into Te Reo not only shows Muslims' respect and regard for the Maori community, but was also a way to share with New Zealand something that was very special and meaningful to them.

Credit for the translation largely goes to Shakil Monir, a Pakistani teacher with a love for religion and the Qur'an. While working in a school in Nigeria in 1993, he began to teach himself Maori with an English to Maori dictionary, Maori Bible and a book of Maori grammar. With a few extra years of dedicated study and with instruction from the head of the Ahmadiyya Community, Mr Monir began the challenging task of translating the Qur'an into Te Reo.

He said that with the help of five to six different Maori language experts, he was confident that the Maori translation was fairly accurate and as close as possible to the original Arabic text.

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is a religious organisation, international in its scope. It has branches in over 193 countries in Africa, America, Asia, Australasia, and Europe with worldwide membership of more than tens of millions.

The New Zealand branch was established in 1987 and has just over 200 members.

- NZPA