Tuesday, 5 August 2008

islam awareness week

it's islam awareness week this week. bit of a funny title, as if islam is a condition that people need more knowledge about. at the time that it was started, i think that's exactly what it felt like. IAW was a response to the hostility against muslim that arose out of the 11 sept bombings in america. it has become an annual event in nz for the last few years, with a variety of events organised for the week. it was actually initiated by muslim university students associations that held events at our universities. but the rest of the community has picked up the concept, and events are now a little more co-ordinated across the country.

i went to one such event in hamilton tonight, at the hamilton city council reception lounge. in comparison to previous years, the crowd was a little light. in a way, it didn't seem like a bad thing. it's a reflection that the level of hostility against muslims has begun to recede, or that we've achieved a little bit of normalcy. i don't know, it somehow seemed to be a sign that people have come to accept us as part of the furniture rather as a complete oddity. or maybe i'm being overly optimistic, and people are just bored & we're no longer a novelty.

nonetheless, it's important to give the wider community an opportunity to interact with the muslim community, and vice versa. it's like sharing diwali celebrations with the hindu community or chinese new year. or the visit i made to the mormon temple in december last year - which i must admit felt a little wierd, but at least it was a positive interaction. which is important in building a strong community.

great to see that children's commissioner cindy kiro has won an apology from radio live for comment made by michael laws. i have a lot of respect for ms kiro, having heard her speak twice, and following the work she does via the media. i get sick of the criticism hurled against her when she advocates for children, especially by those claiming to have strong family values.

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