Islam awareness week – Muslim Kiwis show off their treasures

Fijian-born Ibrar Sheikh hopes the Islam Open day in Aotea Square on the weekend has helped tackle misconceptions about his community and show that “Kiwi-Muslims are just like other New Zealanders.”

The Open Day was one of the main activities of the Islam Awareness Week.

Sheikh said it was a very unique opportunity for people as “the treasures on display here are from volunteers’ homes because there is no specific museum for such artefacts currently in New Zealand.”

Artefacts such as a replica of the Holy Kaaba, life-size camel and posters in different sections such as Islamic arts, science, Islamic Foundations and Islamic culture were on display.

There were Ethnic food stalls, dress stalls, and fun activities for the children as well.

Organiser Hassan Raslan said it went “way better than expected” in light of wild weather the night before.

He said the event aims to show Islam “is not specific to any particular ethnicity” and celebrate the religion’s cross-continent diversity.

Thousands of passers by stopped by for a taste of not only food, but art, history, and science from around the Muslim world.

Islam Awareness Week is an annual event that gives an opportunity to New Zealanders to know more about Islam, its teachings, its rich history and its artefacts.

During this week most of the mosques around the nation are kept open all day welcoming people from different faiths to interact with the members of the Islamic faith.

The week was launched by Hazim Arafeh, president of Federation of Islamic Association of NZ on Monday, August 22, at Kilbirnie Masjid in Wellington.

Fijians make up the majority of New Zealand’s 45,000 Muslims, followed by Pakistanis, and a minority from the Middle East. Many were born in New Zealand.


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