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Muslim communities conference a first

Muslim communities conference a first for New Zealand

A conference aimed at informing service providers about issues facing Muslim communities will be the first of its kind in New Zealand. The two day forum "Working with Muslim Communities in New Zealand" is being held in Auckland on 14 and 15 April.

The forum is aimed at health, education, social services and employment staff in the government and non government sectors as well as community organisations who assist and provide care to refugees and migrants from Muslim backgrounds. The purpose of the forum is to enable these service providers to gain greater insight into the cultural and religious issues of people from New Zealand's ethnically diverse Muslim communities.

These communities include people from South and South East Asia, Afghanistan, former Yugoslavia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iran, Iraq, Palestine, Egypt, Somalia, the Sudan, Tunisia and Algeria. The 2001 census recorded the number of Muslim people in New Zealand as 23,415 with Auckland home to the largest group of Muslim peoples.

The forum has been organised by members of the Afghani and Somali Muslim communities and the Umma Trust. Discussion topics include the importance of religious identity to peoples of Islamic faith, the barriers to integration in New Zealand society facing Muslim refugee and migrant communities, models of working in partnership with Muslim communities, the issues facing Muslim youth and the role of Muslim women in New Zealand.

This forum has the support of the Federation of Islamic Associations New Zealand (FIANZ). Joris de Bres, Race Relations Commissioner will be delivering the opening speech.

The Conference is being held at Zayed Girls College, 44 Westney Rd, Mangere, Auckland.

ENDS

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