Ramadan is always an important time for reflection and community for those living within the Islamic world. I have always appreciated the compassionate outreach by New Zealand’s Muslim community to me and other Members of the National Party Caucus.
To join them in commemorating the messages of Ramadan through Iftar dinners, public panels, Suhoor, and wider discussions about faith and identity in New Zealand has been a true pleasure as National’s Ethnic Communities Spokesperson.
Our country is young by world standards with our first populations unlikely to have arrived on New Zealand’s shores until centuries after the message of Islam began to be shared across the world. That message, like the messages of other ancient global faiths, is an integral part of the traditions, customs and beliefs of tens of thousands of New Zealanders who have now embarked on their annual personal journey of discovery.
Ramadan for them means faith and identity. It means a time for reward and for searching. It means a time for community and contemplation. It is a respected and well-established time for understanding, something all people can recognise.
As New Zealand sees out yet another year with Covid and with the impacts it has brought on the cost of living, public debt and the loss of community celebrations we ourselves no matter our personal faiths can contemplate the impacts and hardships these times have had for many across New Zealand.
This time of Ramadan is also an important time for the Muslim community to give thanks in their faith for the best things in their lives. We can also ourselves give thanks to the Mosques, Masjids and Muslim community centres that, like other houses of worship around New Zealand, came out in force to support the community during the impacts of the last two years.
Special vaccination clinics to support cultural requirements, food parcels and welfare checks all could be found voluntarily being provisioned through New Zealand’s Muslim communities.
Celebrating our faiths, no matter the struggles the world has us endure is one of the greatest ways we can show our identity and the blessings of our communities.
In National, our Caucus, candidates and community of members have come from all walks of life, backgrounds and ethnicities to look ahead to a better future in New Zealand.
I am proud of the contributions our amazing and diverse National members have made to our party and to the New Zealand way of life and look forward to many more joining our Caucus in 2023. As I said in a recent Parliamentary Panel on diversity more backgrounds mean more solutions, and MMP ensures those people are elected on merit, regardless of their creed, culture or faith.
At this time of Ramadan, I remember an important New Zealand proverb, Waiho i te toipoto, kaua i te toiroa. Let us keep close together, not wide apart and hope we can all remember, no matter where you are from, we are all in this together.
Ramadan Kareem, Ramadan Mubarak!
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