Eid Al Fitr reinforces unity and discipline

Judith Collins 

Eid Mubarak

I would like to extend Eid greetings to the Muslim community. Communities across New Zealand have been celebrating the end of Ramadan – a month of fasting and spiritual reflection and the Eid Al Fitr festival will be celebrated by Muslims around the world on or about June 25, 2017.

Ramadan is a special time where Muslims give thanks to Allah for their health, wellbeing and strength, and to celebrate the “happiness” one feels after completing such an important task.

Festivals and celebrations such as Ramadan and Eid play an important role in maintaining identity and traditions.

Celebrations of these traditions help New Zealanders come to a better understanding of the different communities around them. Interfaith knowledge and religious tolerance is critical to maintaining a socially cohesive society.

Rising Muslim population

As New Zealand’s diversity increases, it is important that we recognise and acknowledge the many cultures and religions within New Zealand, and the community’s contribution to a strong, inclusive and prosperous nation.

According to Census 2013, there are around 46,000 Muslims living in
New Zealand. In just over a decade, the number of Muslims living here has almost doubled, growing from 23,000 in 2001.

The Islamic community in New Zealand is diverse within itself with over 42 ethnicities.

Muslims living in New Zealand are predominantly born in four regions (source; Statistics NZ, Census 2013); 27% (12,250 people) were born in Asia, 26% (11,700 people) were born in New Zealand; 23% (10,600 people) were born in the Middle East or Africa; and 21% (9500 people) were born in the Pacific.

I am looking forward to hosting the Parliamentary Eid Al Fitr on July 5, 2017 and acknowledging the contributions made by Muslim Kiwis in New Zealand.

Ethnic People in Commerce

I hope to see many of you at the Ethnic People in Commerce (EPC NZ) conference later this month (June 30, 2017 at Sky City Convention Centre).

EPIC NZ is the Office of Ethnic Communities annual conference celebrating New Zealand’s growing and diverse business community. The theme of this year’s conference is; The New Zealand business story; best practice, better business.

EPIC NZ is a half day (afternoon) event that will attract about 300 attendees from New Zealand’s ethnically diverse business community.

Attendees will have the opportunity to engage and connect directly with government agencies and to find out about the support and services available to drive best practice, and to help businesses thrive and grow.

Open dialogue with Government

The conference focuses on how to succeed in the New Zealand business environment and internationally, and what is next for New Zealand’s ethnically diverse business community.

It aims to encourage engagement and an open dialogue between Government and the ethnically diverse business community about the opportunities and challenges faced; connect and inspire New Zealand’s ethnically diverse business community and demonstrate the benefits of diversity; and discuss how to get the best out of the New Zealand business story in our fast-paced global economy.

EPIC NZ provides an opportunity for New Zealand’s ethnically diverse business community to make valuable connections with local and international business leaders to drive innovation and growth.

Information about the conference including the programme, who will be speaking, and how to register is available from the Office of Ethnic Communities’ website at this link; https;//ethniccommunities.govt.nz/events/epicnz-conference-auckland-30-june-2017/

Judith Collins is Minister for Ethnic Communities.

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