Everyone is welcome to use the Islamic Community Centre in Huntly, which is used as a mosque as well.

Huntly's first Islamic Community Centre and mosque has opened.

The building on Bridge St, formerly a fish and chip shop, has undergone renovations over the past six months.

It was gifted to the community by its Auckland owner and is now in the hands of resident Zahid Abrahams and volunteers in the community as well as Hamilton friends Mustafa Farouk and Musa Taukiri.

The centre is available for anyone who wishes to use it at any time.

It will be beneficial for Muslims who are passing through and need a place for one of their daily prayers.

Prior to the opening of the centre, Muslim community members in Huntly used to convene at one house every Thursday.

"We would put down our mats and pray," Farouk said.

And a grassy park area on the roadside heading south of Huntly was often used for that purpose, he said.

Farouk said the five prayers throughout the day were done anywhere, as long as they were on time. 

"Every place on Earth is a prayer place, this place just provides a shelter."

He said it was also a place where people from different cultures could come together.

And because there was nothing like it in Huntly, it would be a chance for community members to learn about the Islam, he said.

"There is a lot of misunderstanding about Islam, this is an opportunity for them to speak to a Muslim face to face."

There is no furniture in the centre, only mats, but it is complete with a kitchen and bathroom.

Farouk compared it to the running of a marae where different functions could be held  everyone was treated like family.

Abrahams said the key was available from the dairy owner next door during the day and in the evenings, he would be available for people to collect it from.

There was no fear of people taking advantage of the freedom though.

"It's a house of God, God takes care of it."

While it has been open for a while now, an official opening day will be held on May 7 running for two hours from 11:30am.


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