In Islam, mosque is related to all aspects of life for devout Muslims, and it’s the vehicle by which they engage in the affairs of the world, both as individuals and as communities.
To actualize this objective, and bring the mosque closer to New Zealanders, a new exhibition opened this week at Canterbury Museum under the title Mosque: Faith, Culture, Community.
The exhibition will highlight the mosque as the heart of Muslim communities, and the diversity of Islamic culture showcased through art and objects.
This actually is the product of the cooperation between the Museum and Christchurch Muslims who want to share knowledge and understanding of Islam with the wider community.
“Our hope is that in working with local Muslims we have created uplifting experience for our visitors, one that highlights the diversity of Islamic art, architecture and culture,” Museum Director, Anthony Wright said, Scoop Media reported.
“It is important that we share stories from all parts of the Canterbury community and that we work with those communities in presenting them. We hope that the exhibition will dispel some of the misconceptions about Islam and that visitors will come away with a greater understanding of their Muslim neighbors.”
Islam in New Zealand is adhered by about 1% of the total population. Small numbers of Muslim immigrants from South Asia and Eastern Europe settled in New Zealand from the early 1900s until the 1960s.
The first Muslims came to Christchurch in 1854 from India.
Large-scale Muslim immigration began in the 1970s with the arrival of Fiji Indians, followed in the 1990s by refugees from various war-torn countries. The first Islamic center opened in 1959 and there are now several mosques and two Islamic schools.