By Mick Jensen
Ashburton’s muslim community opened their hearts and the doors of their mosque on Sunday to thank the wider community for the support shown to them following the March 15 shooting tragedy in Christchurch.
The open day attracted more than 300 visitors and was held for the public to look around the mosque, to learn more about Islam and to speak with muslim worshippers.
A prayer was held at 12.30pm and people watched or took part in it.
Ashburton Muslim Association chairman Mohamed Diab said the main reason for the open day was to extend appreciation for the “great support” received from Ashburton, from its wonderful community and from Ashburton council in the aftermath of the terrorist attack.
A number of people had asked to visit the Ashburton mosque soon after the attack, but because of security reasons, that had not been possible, Mr Diab said.
The open day was held to explain the meaning of the Islamic religion and to clarify any misconceptions of it.
It had encouraged the community to ask any questions, however sensitive they were.
The open day was also held to further build relationships with the community and to break down barriers.
The muslin community was part of the Ashburton community and “all one” within it and the actions of one terrorist was not going to change that.
Mr Diab said Islam was about “spreading the love with neighbours” and “showing peace”.
Around 15 families regularly worship at Ashburton mosque.