Thanking the community for the huge support after Christchurch shootings, a local imam at the New Zealand southern city of Invercargill is inviting his neighbors to learn more about Islam to clear misconceptions about the faith, Stuff reported.
“We owe it to them to put on something like this,” Dr. Reza-Abdul Jabbar said.
Jabbar said he has felt tremendous support from the community since the terrorist attack but wants to create more of an understanding of the Islam religion.
The next Saturday, November 2, event is hosted alongside the Murihiku Islamic Trust. Dubbed, Media Islam Vs True Islam, it will be an informative Islamic display along with a Qur’an listening.
“I really believe once you spend a bit of time as a community we can live and co-exist in harmony,” Jabbar said.
“Why do we need to wait for such a big event to take place before we do something like this.
“Maybe if we had done more we could have prevented this [the terror attacks].”
Islam in New Zealand
Islam in New Zealand is adhered to by about 1% of the total population.
Small numbers of Muslim immigrants from South Asia and Eastern Europe settled in New Zealand from the early 1900s until the 1960s.
Nevertheless, 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 opened in 1959 and there are now several mosques and two Islamic schools.