Doors open to celebrate diversity

Together...members of the Muslim community from Mataura and fur ther afield gathered to share their faith with the public at the open day on Saturday. PHOTO:FIONA ELLIS

The Mataura mosque welcomed the public on its first open day on Saturday.

People learned about the religion and ate a barbecue lunch together.

There were stations for people to get a henna tattoo or try a hijab.

A Quran listening station was set up, and pamphlets and Qurans were available to take away.

Gore Mayor Tracy Hicks thanked the mosque members for giving people the opportunity to come and learn more about their faith.

“Today is about recognising and understanding the diversity that we have in our country,” Mr Hicks said.

“The New Zealand that I grew up in is a completely different world to the New Zealand we live in today and I think that that is a good thing.”

Gore district councillor Neville Phillips and Labour Party list MP Liz Craig also spoke.

Imam Zamberi Bin Matyunus presented each of the three with a plant to thank them for coming.

Zaeem Firdaus (9) and sister Maira (7) recited verses of the Quran and Reza Abdul Jabbar gave an overview of Islam to the audience.

He explained the Arabic greeting As-Salaam-Alaikum (peace be upon you).

“It’s such a powerful blessing,” Dr Jabbar said.

“We then reply by saying Wa-Alaikum, and unto you also be peace.”

He also explained the five pillars of Islam.

“The most important message today is that Islam is a religion and belief in one god.”

Mataura Muslim Association secretary Ariffin Abidin said the day went well, despite the bad weather.

“We achieved what we wanted to achieve. It’s going to be an annual event.”

Yvonne Wilson, of Gore, was one of those who attended to learn more about Islam.

“It’s been very enlightening,” Ms Wilson said.

“I think we need to be aware how everyone is different.”

Those differences were superficial, as everyone believed in similar values, such as peace, she said.latest Nike releaseMens Flynit Trainers