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NZ Muslims' courage and determination praised

Human Rights Commission

08 August 2005

New Zealand Muslims' courage and determination praised

In a speech delivered at the launch of Islam Awareness Week this morning, Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres praised Muslim New Zealanders for not giving into prejudice during a very difficult time.

"There has been an increase in 'Islamaphobia' in some quarters, as justified anger at the acts of terrorism in London has been unfairly directed against adherents of Islam in general."

"The activities organised for Islam Awareness Week show that you are not going to give in to prejudice, but that instead you are opening your doors to fellow New Zealanders, offering to share what your faith is about and building bridges.

I congratulate you on your courage and your determination not to be intimidated. I hope many New Zealanders will take up your invitation, take part in your activities and visit your website."

Islam Awareness Week (8-15 August) is organised by the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand and the theme this year is, "Getting to know each other".

Mr de Bres expressed his support for FIANZ's efforts to foster wider public understanding of Islam, particularly in the present climate following the London bombings.

Activities and events will provide general information about Islam and participants will be able to learn about the history of Islam in New Zealand through the stories of New Zealand Muslims. Muslims can also commit to learning more about other New Zealanders over the coming year.

The three key aspects to the theme are:
* Increasing understanding between people;
* Promoting greater tolerance and harmony; and
* Creating new relationships.

Details of the programme, along with background information on Islam, are available on a website especially created for the week, at www.islamawareness.co.nz .

Islam Awareness Week is registered by FIANZ as a project under the New Zealand Diversity Action Programme (see www.hrc.co.nz/diversity)

ENDS


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