On Monday, 29 April 2024, Parliament radiated with the warmth of camaraderie and celebration as dignitaries, community leaders, and guests gathered to commemorate Eid al-Fitr, marking the conclusion of Ramadan. 

Image: Speakers at the Eid Event in Parliament 

Eid has been celebrated in Parliament since 2005. This event reflects the government's commitment to honouring our diversity and acknowledgement of the significant contributions that Muslim communities continue to make as an integral part of New Zealand society.

The event, hosted by the Honourable Melissa Lee, Minister for Ethnic Communities, was a testament to New Zealand's commitment to inclusivity and diversity. 

The evening started with the arrival of Minister Lee, accompanied by a distinguished entourage, including Mr Mervin Singham, Chief Executive of the Ministry for Ethnic Communities, and prominent community leaders such as Ibrar Sheikh, President of the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand (FIANZ), Dr Sajjad Haider Naqvi, President of the Islamic Council of New Zealand (ICONZ), and Ms Aliya Danzeisen, National Coordinator of the Islamic Women Council of New Zealand (IWCNZ) among others.

The programme commenced with a recitation of the Quran by Sheikh Mohammad Amir, Mufti of New Zealand, and inspiring speeches by community leaders, including Mr Ibrar Sheikh and Dr Sajjad Haider Naqvi, emphasising the values of unity and inclusivity.

Image: Prayer at the Eid event 

Talented performers added festive vibes to the evening, including a poetry recitation by Khadro Mohamed and a Nasheed performance by children from the Lower Hutt Muslimah community. Minister Lee honoured the performers and presented gifts to the young talents, symbolising appreciation for their contribution to the festivities.

In her speech, Minister Lee underscored the significance of Eid al-Fitr in fostering cultural richness and social cohesion, reaffirming the government's commitment to supporting ethnic communities and promoting inclusivity.

"The Eid is a time of generosity, as many Muslims give to charity and help those in need. It is important always to celebrate the opportunities that unite us and bring us closer to one another. These values are fundamental to building culturally rich and economically prosperous communities in New Zealand," said Minister Lee.

Amidst the current global challenges, Minister Lee acknowledged the resilience of New Zealand's Muslim community and the government's support of community-led initiatives aiming at harmony and healing through the Ethnic Communities Development Fund.

 Image: Attendees at the Eid function in Parliament

The government deeply values our Muslim community's significant social and economic contributions. Despite being a relatively small population, their efforts have extended far beyond their own community, playing a pivotal role in making New Zealand a safe and inclusive place for all.

As New Zealand embraces its diverse tapestry of cultures and traditions, events like Eid at Parliament serve as a beacon of hope and solidarity, reflecting the nation's unwavering dedication to unity, understanding, and mutual respect.

Check the celebration vibe captured on our Facebook album:

Image: Hon Melissa Lee, Minister for Ethnic Communities at Eid 2024

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