It was predicted that the current mosque in Palmerston North Cook St. will accommodate the Muslim population for the next 15 years.
However, the Muslim community, which has grown significantly after the March 15 terrorist attacks, are looking for an expansion, Stuff reported.
“We need more space… On Fridays, we are now feeling the pinch. With 320 people, we’re almost full to the brim,” Manawatū Muslims’ Association president Riyaz Rehman said.
Currently, the Muslim community’s only mosque is located on Cook St and does not accommodate the Muslim community which has grown significantly after the Christchurch March 15 terrorist attacks.
Rehman said special events such as the religious holiday of `Eid saw more than 1500 congregate at the mosque and there wasn’t the space for everyone.
They are considering whether to build on to the current mosque or begin a new building.
“We are talking to our Māori brothers, Rangitāne. We want to incorporate Māori influence into the design,” he said.
Other options were to move to Palmerston North.
“It’s going to be good for Palmerston North as well. Whatever we do it will be iconic,” Rehman said.
“It’s going to be something that Kiwis can relate with.”
Working on the new mosque design, committee member Zulfiqar Butt praised New Zealanders saying that over the past decade similar mosque projects across New Zealand had been well supported and funding was always found.
“Once you start a project, funding comes from all sorts of places. Once we finalize the design, we are hopeful we will get the funding.
“We are trying to get a very welcome place, which should be a place for all of Palmerston North, not only Muslims but all the wider community of Palmerston North.”
Terrorist Brenton Harrison Tarrant killed 51 Muslim worshippers in March-15 attacks as he targeted Al Noor and Linwood mosques.
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.
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.
At the 2013 Census of Population and Dwellings, 78.9 percent of Palmerston North residents identified as of European ethnicity, 16.5 percent as Māori, 9.7 percent as Asian, 4.5 percent as Pacific Peoples, 1.3 percent as Middle Eastern/Latin American/African, and 2.1 percent as another ethnicity (mainly ‘New Zealander’).
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