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NZ Parliament Opens First Session After Massacre with Qur’an

CHRISTCHURCH – The first Parliament session in New Zealand after the deadly Christchurch  terror attack started with a recitation from the Holy Qur’an, Anadolu Agency reported.

Nizam ul Haq Thanvi recited verses from the Qur’an, in Arabic, for the victims of last week’s massacre of peaceful worshippers.

A translation into English by Imam Tahir Navaz followed.

New Zealand Parliament Speaker Trevor Mallard also called for unity and solidarity

Terrorist Brenton Harrison Tarrant killed 49 Muslim worshippers in Friday’s attacks as he targeted Al Noor and Linwood mosques.

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Jacinda Ardern, the New Zealand Prime Minister, said the victims came from across the Muslim world, with Turkey, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Malaysia among the countries rendering consular assistance.

In Tuesday’s session, Prime Minister Ardern spoke the Islamic greeting “As-salam Alaykum” or “peace be upon you”.

“The families of the fallen will have justice,” said Ardern during her address, adding she would never mention the gunman’s name.

“He may have sought notoriety, but we in New Zealand will give him nothing. Not even his name.”

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.

According to the 2013 national census, there were approximately 600,000 Maori people in New Zealand, making up 15% of the national population. They are currently the second-largest ethnicity in New Zealand, after Europeans.

Additionally, there are more than 140,000 Maori in neighboring Australia. Based on 2013’s census, 48.4% of Maori were Christians while 46.3% didn’t believe in any religion.

The rest follow different religions like the Traditional Maori Religion and Islam. The number of Maori Muslims grew rapidly by the end of the 20th century to 1,074 at the 2006 census, this equals 0.19% of the Maori population.

Islam is estimated to be the fastest growing religion among Māori. 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.