The main mosque in Wellington, the capital city of New Zealand, has announced holding an open day for all visitors regardless of faith on Saturday, April 27.
The event will run from 10am to 3pm where there will be food, kids’ activities, henna painting, Arabic calligraphy, and Imams on hand to answer questions about the Islamic faith.
Wellington’s main mosque lies in Kilbirnie suburb. It was closed after the police service in New Zealand urged all mosques across the country to close their doors following Christchurch terrorist attack which took place on March 15.
In main centers, NZ armed police stood guard as the sites became a public place for Muslim and non-Muslim mourners to gather.
Restrictions were eased in the capital on March 18, but police still kept a presence as men and women slowly made their way into the Kilbirnie mosque, weaving their way through flowers and well-wishers.
Adhan & Empathy
On the afternoon of March 18, members of Wellington Islamic Community gathered together to begin their normal prayer routines following Friday’s terrorist attack inwhich left 50 dead – including three-year-old Mucad Ibrahim.
Hearing the call for prayer again after closure was a welcoming sound. “It’s a great feeling. The mosque should be used for events like this – when we need more peace and connection with the Lord,” expressed Tahir Nawaz, president of the International Muslim Association of New Zealand.
“We’ve been overwhelmed by the growing sea of flowers outside the building. We really thank all the New Zealander society. Each flower with its story has a separate message from the inner heart. Those messages touch us. These are coming from the real New Zealand people.” he said.
Asif Koya, a member of the local community, said: “the societal support meant a lot. To be back in the normal prayer routine. It would take time for members to be less fearful. In Wellington we’ve never felt unsafe but now, based on what has happened, it makes us reflect.”
Islam in NZ
In New Zealand, Islam is a minority religious affiliation, as small numbers of Muslim immigrants from South Asia and eastern Europe settled starting from the early 1900s until the 1960s.
On a large-scale, Muslim immigration began in the 1970s with the arrival of Fiji Indians, followed in the 1990s by refugees from various war-torn countries. The first Islamic center was established in 1959 and there are now several mosques and two Islamic schools.
Islam is estimated to be the fastest growing religion among Māori natives of New Zealand. The national census figures show the number of Muslims of Māori ethnicity increasing from 99 to 708 in the 10 years to 2001, and to 1,083 by 2013 census data.
The Aotearoa Māori Muslim Association (AMMA) is the most influential Māori Muslim movement. Its leader, Sheikh Eshaq Te Amorangi Morgan Kireka-Whaanga, was recently identified among the top 500 most influential Muslims.
On the other hand, while the overall Pacific Islander community grew 15% according to census data from 2001 to 2006, Muslim Pacific Islanders grew 87.43%.
According to 2013 census data, there were 1,536 Muslims among the Pacific Islander community (a little under 3.5% of New Zealand’s Muslim population).