Wellington’s Kilbirnie mosque opened its doors on Sunday as a show of thanks to the people Wellington for their support in the wake of the Christchurch terror attacks, Stuff reported Sunday, April 28.
“It was like after 9/11 our clock started running back. We felt so alone. After the Prime Minister of New Zealand wore a hijab, it started running forward again,” Imam Nizam ul Haq Thanvi said.
“The surgeon puts a knife in but the end result is good.”
Imam Thanvi is the imam who led the Muslim prayer to open parliament on March 19.
The open day was held to honor that and to say thank you to New Zealand over the outpouring love and support toward Muslim New Zealanders.
International Muslim Association NZ (NZMA) president Tahir Nazam said it was a special open day as the first after the attack, and while it was about being thankful for the help and support, it couldn’t “stop here”.
“After a while people are keen to forget.
“They need to understand we’re not doing anything different. Anything people don’t understand, they can come in and ask.”
New Zealand came together in the past weeks to support Muslims.
On Friday, March 29, around 25,000 gathered at North Hagley Park, a few meters away from Al Noor Mosque, a scene of the terrorist attacks.
A week earlier, the whole nation supported the Muslim community by airing on national TV adhan and Jum`ah prayer for the first time.
Nationwide ceremonies moreover saw poignant scenes of Kiwis embracing Muslims, and of non-Muslim New Zealand women donning makeshift Islamic headscarves in solidarity.
Among visitors to the mosque came Dechen, a Buddhist nun in the Dalai Lama tradition, who wanted to learn more about Islam and Muslim people.
“I have been really struck by the friendliness of everyone here. There’s a beautiful spirit, it’s strong and palpable.”
Dechen said there was a “sense of commonality” that illuminated the horror of the attack in Christchurch.
“It’s this group that’s been attacked, but it could be anyone. It makes you more aware of prejudice.”