Queenstown is said to house 25 Muslim families and host approximately three million tourists every year, but there is one thing that the Muslim community of the most visited tourist spot of the world find missing is a place of worship for them.

The nearest mosque for the approximately 100 plus Muslim members of the community in Queenstown is three hours’ drive (205 km) from the city to a nearby town.

The Muslim community of Queenstown under charitable trust ‘Handshake People’ has initiated a fundraising campaign on March 15 this year to establish a mosque or an Islamic centre for the community.

“It is crucial to have an Islamic Centre as it will be the hub for all community activities, including daily prayer sessions in congregation, Islamic classes for the children, character-building programmes for the youth, parenting seminars, as well as Quranic classes for all ages,” Habib Ali from Handshake People, told The Indian Weekender.

“Apart from the locals, this Islamic Centre will also provide a place for worship, refresh and seek directions for the 3 million visitors that visit Queenstown every year,” Mr Ali added.

Until now the community have been using a rental community hall at the town centre to perform the congregational Friday prayers which also depends on the availability, and at times the community members pray on the lawn outside the lake.

“All the other prayers (five-times compulsory prayers) are done at home or empty spaces/offices at our workplaces respectively,” Mr Ali added.

The organisation had seen a property which was withdrawn from the market, and they are actively seeking another place in one of the most expensive real estate markets in the world to establish the Islamic Centre.

“We are also looking at potential spaces for short term rental for a start,” Mr Ali said.

The fundraising is being driven through Lauchgood platform, Handshake People website and Facebook pages and people are encouraged to make any contribution towards this noble cause.

Besides prayer services and Islamic teachings for men, women, youth, children- the Islamic Center will also have areas to be utilised for dialogue sessions, social work and entrepreneurship.

To contribute: https://www.launchgood.com/campaign/lets_establish_the_first__only_queenstown_islamic_centre_in_new_zealand?fbclid=IwAR3kM1GaqJqlFOvpxCdwNgMCAoIR52EAxO97gXubQ2K7Amj-_J4Wu1hNKRU#!/