‘Islam Open Day’ held at Aotea Square in Auckland’s Central Business District over the weekend was one of the largest and most impressive events of its type in the country.
Thousands of people visited the location to understand the world’s youngest and fastest growing religion and remove some of the myths surrounding Islam and its people.
Maryam Bhukari, one of the main organisers of the event, third in annual series, will file an exclusive report for Indian Newslink to appear in our next issue.
She said that ‘Islam Open Day’ is a unique way of celebrating Islam in New Zealand.
“This was the first time that the event was held over two days (on Saturday, September 12 and Sunday, September 13, 2015). It was in the form of an exhibition open to all New Zealanders.
It is an opportunity to get to know the Muslim community better, ask questions about Islam and broaden not only religious but also cultural understanding of Islam and the Muslim community in New Zealand,” she said.
According to Ms Bhukari, the exhibition showcased the world of Islam from a number of perspectives.
“There were more than 90 posters displaying different elements that make up the wonder of Islam including arts, science, history, culture, Islamic fundamentals and the Islamic society. There were stalls selling ethnic food and clothing as well as Islamic resources and reading materials to take away. Various fun activities were arranged for children, the highlight of which was ‘Tracey,’ the camel,” she said.
Our Editor adds:
The Muslim population is growing in New Zealand and Muslims perhaps constitute the most diverse of all cultures. The last Census placed the share of Muslim population at 1% (about 42,000), tracing their roots to 50 different countries.
New Zealand Muslims are ethnically diverse, tracing their origins to countries in Asia, Africa, America and Europe. Among them are many second and third generation New Zealand born Muslims including Maori.
The community is small compared to other Western nations such as the US, France, Britain, and Germany. Like all early populations in New Zealand, the Muslim community is largely filled by immigrants.
Muslims today are in general more knowledgeable about their faith, more attuned to its demands, and more assertive about their identity.