It's always nice to meet the local Muslim community when we travel and observe how they practise Islam. Our team recently had the opportunity of visiting a local mosque in Auckland, New Zealand and we had a meaningful experience there ☺️
[P.S Travelling New Zealand's North island? You'll need our 10D9N Muslim-friendly itinerary!]
The Al-Masjid Al-Jamie in Ponsonby is New Zealand's first ever mosque and the closest to the city centre. So, it's perfect if you're in Auckland and need to do your prayers!
We had a great chat with Bilal, one of the mosque's committee members, who has been living in New Zealand since he was 3! He shared with us that he loves New Zealand because of its amazing people - there's a lot of diversity and everyone gets along so well, even between locals and immigrants.
But what caught our attention was the good relations that the mosque has with the neighbourhood, particularly the Sacred Heart Parish Church just opposite. Bilal told us that the mosque and church share their parking space on Fridays and Sundays. During Ramadan, the mosque will also send out open invitations to the neighbourhood to break fast together. Last year, they even had 30 police officers joining them for iftar ? Besides that, members of the church also attended the iftar session. As in the words of Bilal, "They (the mosque) are really good friends with us. They take care of us and we take care of them."❤️
It was really heartening that even our local guide, Ben felt welcomed at the mosque. It was his first time in a mosque and the experience pleasantly surprised him. He's always been interested to find out what it's like inside a mosque but he never got the chance to visit one. The mosque made him feel comfortable and he told us that he intends to bring his family back there for one of the open invitations to learn more, especially since Auckland is such a multicultural city.
In a time where there's a lot of hate and extremism in the world, it's really heartwarming to see such efforts being made by the mosque to foster peaceful relations between different faiths and cultures. After all, Islam teaches us to respect one another and be kind. It's amazing to hear stories like this and we hope to uncover more of such interactions as we travel more ?
If you're in Auckland and visiting the mosque, here are the details:
Address: 17 Vermont St, Ponsonby, Auckland 1011, New Zealand
Contact No: +64 9-378 8200
[P.S. If you're heading to New Zealand, make sure you check out our ultimate guide to halal food around the country!]