Mosques in the four corners of Auckland will open their doors on Friday night for people of all faiths to gather in remembrance of the 50 lives lost in the Christchurch shootings.
Auckland Council is working with the Federation of Islamic Associations of NZ (FIANZ) and New Zealand Muslim Association (NZMA) to promote these events and to encourage the community to come together and stand as one in this difficult time.
The Muslim community in Auckland is opening the Ponsonby Masjid, Ranui Mosque, North Shore Islamic Centre and Masjid Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq in Pakuranga for community leaders and religious leaders from across Auckland to join them and show solidarity for the lives lost in Christchurch.
NZMA President Ikhlaq Kashkari says this is also their way of thanking the community for their support, compassion and kindness in the aftermath of the attacks.
“Islam has always been a welcoming religion and we’re encouraged to look after our neighbours and those who need it the most.
“It’s important now, more than ever, to show solidarity and band together with our brothers and sisters across the country,” says Mr Kashkari.
Mayor Phil Goff will be attending the events at Ponsonby Masjid and Ranui Mosque to pay his respects to the Muslim community.
“After this devastating tragedy, it is incredibly important that we reaffirm our belief in a nation where people are free to follow their faith and express their cultural identity.
“This is a time for us to confirm our support for a multi-cultural and multi-faith city and nation.
“With Auckland mosques opening their doors to Aucklanders on Friday, we have the opportunity to meet, talk and show our solidarity and commitment to the Muslim community.
“I hope that as many people as possible can take up the chance to visit one of the mosques and to express to those hosting us our sympathy and support for them at this difficult time,” says Mayor Goff.
Mr Kashkari says the wider Auckland community is warmly welcomed to come in, hear from a range of speakers and talk to people about their experiences growing up in New Zealand and living as Kiwi Muslims.
“We want to encourage an atmosphere of inclusivity and openness. It is only through standing together as one that we will be able to heal as a nation.
“This is a time when we need to look out for each other, support one another and continue to remind each other that we are in a safe, supportive and compassionate country.”
The events will be supported by police to provide reassurance and comfort and to keep this a safe space for everyone.
The mosques will open their doors from 5pm to 8pm and people are free to stay later if they wish.