New Zealand Muslims Bring Islam Awareness to Campus

SHAFAQNA - Dispelling stereotypes about their faith, a group of Muslim students in New Zealand oldest university are organizing an Islamic awareness week at their campus, inviting their friends and colleagues to have a better understanding of Islam. 

“There [are] misconceptions about women’s rights and equality and freedom. We want to offer an alternative perception,” Hashmatullah Lafraie, 23, the vice president of the Muslim Students’ Association in the University of Otago said on Tuesday, September 8. 

Lafraie noted that though the whole Dunedin was very accommodating towards different cultures, there was still a lot of misconceptions about Islam and Muslims. 

Attended by about 700 Muslim students from 50 different countries, the University of Otago was praised for offering them positive experiences. 

Launched on Monday, the week-long events aimed to dispel some stereotypes about the faith, the association’s public relations spokeswoman, Rinad Tamimi (20), said. 

The events include an interfaith peace lecture at the St David Lecture Theatre on Wednesday night and the ”Meet a Muslim” evening on Friday at Alhambra Hall. 

Encouraging people of different cultures to come together, the Islam awareness week won praise of the University of Otago chaplain Greg Hughson. 

“It’s a very spiritual week for the Muslim community to invite others to come and learn more about Islam,” he said. 

Muslims make about 1.1% of New Zealand’s 4.5 million population, while Christians represent 44%.

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