In the city of Whangarei, New Zealand, the Whangarei Islamic Centre recently hosted an event called “Open Mosque Days,” which brought together hundreds of people from different faith backgrounds. The aim of the program is to foster closer relationships between the local Muslim community and people from the northernmost parts of New Zealand.
“Some families come from cities as far north as Auckland, while others come from cities like Kaikohe in the far south. They come not only to share in the sorrows of New Zealand Muslims and stand with them in their pain but also to learn more about the Islamic faith,” say the program organizers.
Under the umbrella of the Northern Muslim Charitable Trust Community (TNMCCT), a group of generous New Zealand Muslim individuals has opened the doors of the Islamic Centre to everyone. The center has seen a surge of visitors on Saturdays and remains open for visits from 2 PM to 6 PM, welcoming all of the 58,800 residents of Whangarei. A representative of the trust adds, “Female visitors, regardless of their faith, wear headscarves as a sign of respect.“
Furthermore, the foundation provides informative brochures about the Islamic faith and distributes copies of the Quran. A group of representatives from Auckland is also present to answer questions from inquisitive visitors about Islam. Throughout this process, a police officer is stationed at the entrance for the safety and security of the center and its visitors.
Whangarei City and Maori Muslims
Looking at the general demographics of Whangarei, the population consists mostly of Christians. A small fraction of the native population has embraced Islam and are known as Maori Muslims, who are immigrants.
Muslims in New Zealand are a minority, and those residing in this city are mainly descendants of Muslim immigrants who arrived in the early 1900s, hailing from North Africa and Eastern Europe. The Maori Muslim population has been growing rapidly over the 20th century. In the 2006 census, their number was recorded at 1,074, representing approximately 19% of the Maori population.
It’s crucial to remember that the 50 martyrs lost their lives in the Christchurch terrorist attack on March 15 in New Zealand, as they planted seeds in the earth. Their martyrdom is now blooming as more people embrace Islam.