‘We Are One’ event draws a crowd

‘We Are One’ event draws a crowd

Over 70 people were present for the We Are One event in Churton Park PHOTO: Adam Blackwell

Over 70 people packed into the small Churton Park community centre for its ‘We Are One’ event last Friday.

It was one of the first cold nights of the year and as MP for Ōhāriu Greg O’Connor said, there were many reasons why people might not choose to be there.

The small Churton Park community centre was almost at capacity, however, with residents, members of the Muslim community, and local councillors amongst the crowd.

The multi-faith event was instigated by Sherin Balaha in the wake of the Christchurch terror attack because of the “misconceptions” that surrounded the Muslim faith.

Khaled Said of the Masjid Al-Ameen Mosque in Newlands stood up the front and instantly endeared himself to the audience. “We are Kiwis, we cheer for the All Blacks,” he said.

A message of inclusion and unity was present throughout Said’s presentation, which included the beliefs of Islam, prominent Muslims, Muslim innovation, and the Quran.

Churton Park Community Centre Advocate Mai Mostafa said the event aimed to create a greater understanding about different cultures and faiths within the community.

“It’s about getting out of your bubble and engaging with different people.”

Following Said’s presentation, Balaha talked about being a woman of Muslim faith, including the misconceptions about the hijab.

Local councillor Peter Gilberd and MP for Ōhāriu Greg O’Connor then made brief speeches before a dinner was served.

Churton Park Community Centre chair Brian Shepard said that this would be an ongoing event with different cultures or faiths each month.

“We don’t intend to stop with Muslim people,” he said. “We are really aware of the multicultural character of this community.”

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Article by Adam Blackwell

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