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Islamic Awareness Week chance to learn

7 August 2006

Islamic Awareness Week chance to learn

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Islamic Awareness Week begins tomorrow providing New Zealanders with a unique opportunity to learn about the beliefs and practices of their Muslim neighbours, Ethnic Affairs Minister Chris Carter said today.

"Mosques around the country will be holding public open days throughout the week to enable people to drop in and discover more about Islam than they might read in the newspaper or see on television," Mr Carter said.

"The more understanding we have between cultures, the less opportunity there is for misunderstanding and conflict. The Muslim community recognises this and their initiatives this week are a clear example of their commitment to the health and wellbeing of New Zealand.

"Muslims have lived and contributed to New Zealand since early last century, and contrary to popular belief are not only derived from Asia, Africa and Arabia. There are at least 3000 Muslims in New Zealand who identify as being of European origin," Mr Carter said.

"I would encourage New Zealanders to take up the opportunities provided by Islamic Awareness Week, and enhance their knowledge. I myself will be visiting four mosques in Auckland next weekend to see what I can learn."

ENDS

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