Kiwi-Muslims tackle misconceptions during Islamic Awareness Week

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SHAFAQNA – Islamic artifacts, ethnic cuisine, and traditional clothing were being showcased at mosques and public spaces throughout the country in celebration of Islamic Awareness Week.

Auckland’s Aotea Square hosted an Islam open day on Saturday and 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.

Aini Sulaiman and Siti Nurbaya Esa wear a traditional outfits from Malaysia.

JASON DORDAY/FAIRFAX NZ

Aini Sulaiman and Siti Nurbaya Esa wear a traditional outfits from Malaysia.

Originally from Egypt, Hassan has been in New Zealand 21 years. Other volunteers hailed from Oman, Malaysia, Somalia, Afghanistan and Fiji.

 

Fahad Alriyami wears a traditional outfit called a dishdasha from Oman.

JASON DORDAY/FAIRFAX NZ

Fahad Alriyami wears a traditional outfit called a dishdasha from Oman.

Fijian-born Ibrar Sheikh said he hoped the event would help tackle misconceptions about his community and show that “Kiwi-Muslims are just like other New Zealanders.”

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

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.”

Nazarene Nasim, 27, is a New Zealander who moved from Jalalabad Afghanistan when she was 4.

JASON DORDAY/FAIRFAX NZ

Nazarene Nasim, 27, is a New Zealander who moved from Jalalabad Afghanistan when she was 4.

 Preparations began months ago, and the event depended on dedicated volunteers.

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.

The open day will also be held at Aotea Square on Sunday from 10am to 5pm; those who can’t make it but are curious about Islam can visit the Federation of the Islamic Associations of New Zealand website.

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