South Island based Al Noor Charitable Trust has purchased a Catholic School in Dunedin to operate a Muslim educational institution.
An Otago Daily Times report said that the institution, to be called, ‘An Nur Kiwi Academy,’ would be the first Muslim School in South Island.
It would be exclusively for boy boarders, with a capacity for 100 students in Year 11 to Year 13 groups.
Al Madinah School, founded (1992) and Zayed College for Girls (2001), both based in Auckland are the other two Muslim schools in New Zealand.
Al Noor Charitable Trust is a Christchurch-based charity, aiming to establish Islamic educational institutions throughout the country.
Trust Chairman Dr Mohammed Alayan said that the Academy will teach New Zealand Curriculum, with about 20 staff, qualified in Arabic and Islam.
He said that the earthquakes and aftershocks that occurred in Christchurch since September 2011 disrupted the erstwhile plan of establishing the Academy.
“We therefore moved to Dunedin and acquired the property of St Patrick’s Primary School, except the School Hall. The new academy will be opened either next year or in 2014. It will be a not-for-profit school with charitable status,” Dr Alayan said.
Otago Muslim Association Secretary Bjorn Oscar Sollie said that the proposed institution would be “a great asset for the Muslim community in Dunedin as well as New Zealand.
Otago University Politics Lecturer Najib Lafraie said, “We value the religious aspects of schools, which is important for Muslims. The environment emphasising morality and sense of community is also an important issue.”
Source: ‘Rocket Science,’ monthly Newsletter of the Auckland based Mt Albert Islamic Trust