The Manawatu Muslim Association on Monday, September 2 presented a plaque in appreciation of the love and support received from the community after the Christchurch mosque attacks this year.

Speaking to The Indian Weekender, member of the executive committee of MMA, Dr Zulfiqar Butt said the Muslim community living in Manawatu was overwhelmed with the love and support received after the dreadful mosque attacks.

“We received loads  of flower bouquets, hundreds of cards, messages, pieces of art after the attack and the entire community stood by us during one of the darkest times of New Zealand,” Dr Butt said.

These items were presented by different kindergartens, schools & tertiary institutes, community groups & organisations, trusts and individual community members in the Manawatu region.

To commemorate the love and preserve the gifts received by the Muslim community, MMA planned to make a colourful plaque as a tribute that will be placed outside City Islamic Centre in Palmerston North for the community.

“Dr Muhammad Imran (Associate Professor at Massey University) and I worked on this project to digitally preserve all these items and prepared a colourful plaque made up of photos of these beautiful tributes,” Dr Butt added.

The unveiling ceremony of the plaque was attended by City Councillor Lorna Johnson, council staff, Anglican Minister & social worker Andy Hickman and members of MMA in the region.

Police guard Manawatu Islamic Centre in Manawatu after the 15 March 2019 ChCh Mosque attacks (Image: Supplied MMA)

The Memorial Plaque was jointly unveiled by City Councillor Lorna Johnson and President of MMA Riyaz Rehman at the City Islamic Centre in Palmerston North on Monday, September 2.

This memorial plaque has been given the title of “A story of love, hope and peace” by Dr Imran.

“We are acknowledging and thanking the community for all the love and Aroha the community has presented to us during that hard time and do not want to lose this love and want to keep it forever,” Dr Butt said.

City Councillor Lorna Johnson lauded the efforts of MMA for making this plaque and presenting it to the community.

“It was an honour to help unveil a very special plaque outside the Islamic Centre in Cook St. Photos of all the lovely community tributes in remembrance of the victims of the Christchurch massacre have been compiled into a beautiful poster which will remind us of the love, hope and peace showed by Palmy ([Palmerston North] people,” Councillor Lorna Johnson posted on Facebook.

The Manawatu Muslims Association also presented a smaller replica to Council.