Growing interest in the Muslim faith


There are no official nationwide figures on Muslims in New Zealand but anecdotally there are signs of a growing interest in the Islamic faith.

Since the Christchurch terror attack, thousands have taken Qurans or other literature.

Imam Nizamul Haq Thanvi of the International Muslim Association of New Zealand said immediately after the attack, three to five people a day had converted at a Wellington mosque.

Thanvi said that all sorts are coming.

“Pākehā, Māori, former Christians, even one Hindu,” he said.

From a family of Islamic scholars who live all over the world, the Imam said none of them has ever seen anything like it.

In Manawatu, they are setting up a database to better support new converts.

In Otago, they ran out of materials at a recent open day and are planning another.

In Auckland, mosques have also reported more visitors.

Canterbury resident 22-year-old Megan Lovelady felt called to Islam and converted to become Muslim after the Christchurch mosque attacks.

At Hagley Park for Friday prayers along with thousands of others still reeling from the attacks, the Imam’s prayers deeply moved Megan.

“It was rhythmic and it made me feel inside,” said Megan. “I wanted to join in to do the movements but I didn’t know how – so I just stood there and I cried.”

On reflection, Megan said it feels like she’s always been a Muslim.

Since her conversion, she has been visiting the mosque every day, reading the Quran and other Islamic literature as well as spending time with other Muslims learning about the practices of her new faith.

“I actually feel more at home and more a part of a community than I ever have in my life,” she said. “Allah was calling me home.”


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