Hand of friendship extended

An invitation to visit the Maz Islamic Education Centre has been extended to the person who plastered anti-Muslimposters around Queenstown in December.
It was made during an open day at the Sofitel Queenstown, where the Islamic community leases a room.
The centre has beenestablished to provide a place in the resort for Muslims to worship and as an information point for those keen to learn more about the religion.
About 30 people attended, including Muslims and non-Muslims,Queenstown-Lakes Mayor Jim Boult and police Senior Sergeant John Fookes.
Southland MP Joseph Mooney, who gave a short speech, said it was great for Muslims living in or visiting Queenstown to have a space wherethey could meet and practise their faith.
He said the open day was an important opportunity to show people what Islam was really about, after the anti-Islamic posters were pasted on the mosque on GorgeRd and other buildings in the resort last month.
‘‘I understand they are happy for the alleged man who did it to come in for a tea or coffee, have a bit of a yarn with him, to dispel some of the misconceptions he may or may not have.’’
Police are considering diversion for the teenager charged with putting up 250 posters on poles, bus shelters and walls between December 1 and 24, as well as possession of aknife in Queenstown Gardens on Christmas Eve.
He has been remanded without pleato appear in Queenstown District Court on February15 and was granted interim name suppression.



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