Muslims in Queenstown, a New Zealand city dubbed as the world’s most beautiful city, are celebrating the opening of their first mosque after years of preparations and fundraising efforts.
“We are very excited that the Muslim community finally have a place for worship, and up until now, we would hire community spaces on occasions and sometimes pray on Lake Wakatipu’s shore,” Chairman of Queenstown Islamic Centre, Mohammad Nadheem told the Indian Weekender.
“As soon as we cleared the first deposit, we received the keys of the building, and we made our first prayer in the mosque in the evening with the adhan at sunset (maghrib),” Nadheem added.
For long years, Queenstown Muslims have been praying in their homes, in hired-out churches, or driving hours to get to the closest mosques.
The nearest mosque to Queenstown, up until now was almost 200kms in Invercargill or Dunedin.
The Muslim community started the fundraising drive to establish town’s first mosque in March 2019. Muslims paid %10 of the total cost of the mosque, i.e. $430,000, and the rest to be paid by December 2021.
Queenstown Islamic Centre representatives are going to different mosques around the country to raise funds before next year payment is due.
Queenstown Lakes Mayor Jim Boult said he was pleased the district would have its own mosque.
“The Muslim community are quite a large part of our community. A lot of them are migrant workers. A lot of them have settled and are now resident New Zealanders in our part of the world, and I think having a place of worship for them is an important addition to our community,” Mayor Jim Boult told Radio New Zealand.
Queenstown is a premier tourist destination located in the southwest of South Island in New Zealand.
There is a small Muslim community in Queenstown, and with an increasing number of Muslims visiting the country.