With the passing of the month of Ramadan comes the joy and celebrations of Eid across the Muslim world!
The stoic determination and efforts of our New Zealand Muslim brothers and sisters as they commemorated the heritage of their faith through weeks of fasting, prayer and commemorations should not be underestimated, particularly as COVID-19 has shaped our abilities to engage with one another in the ways we would like to best. The time of the year is special for followers of the Islamic faith. For people of other faiths, like myself, we should always be conscious of the importance these occasions are for identity.
It’s a timely opportunity to remind all people that diversity and differences can only add value to our country and will not hinder our identity as a multicultural nation.
National Party values our Muslim community and the important contributions they make to New Zealand. As a country, we should always reflect that religion, ethnicity or language differences should not be a barrier to our values but instead be recognised as an advantage to work together with others and celebrate our unity as New Zealanders.
Eid celebrations come as the country borders re-open, families re-unite and communities are able to gather once more. Eid al-fitr will be a truly special occasion this year for our Muslim community. The solemn dates of Suhoor and Iftar now transform into Sweet Eid cuisines of Knafeh, Balaleet and Halwa amidst Songs and Eid Prayers to acknowledge the year ahead.
Looking to New Zealand’s own year ahead we see many trials still for our country. As we enter colder months we see rising costs of living, continued difficulties for many at our borders to come to New Zealand with their skills and talents and further struggles for New Zealand business owners chafing at regulatory burden. This year’s Eid celebrations will fall within the shadow of the looming Budget for 2022 which will be announced on May 19th . We all can only hope there will be relief from the impacts of the past two years for all New Zealand in a similar way that Eid provides great joy following Ramadan.
No matter where you are spending Eid this year, I wish you all a very happy and blessed celebrations.
Note: This column originally ran in the Indian News in April 2022
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