More than 200 visit centre

Oamaru Islamic Centre treasurer Hendriani Trisaptayuni (left), of Oamaru, Ade Agustinawati ...
Oamaru Islamic Centre treasurer Hendriani Trisaptayuni (left), of Oamaru, Ade Agustinawati (centre), of Alma, and Sabeen Ahsan, of Oamaru, show the henna tattoos they got at the Knowing Oamaru Islamic Centre open day yesterday. PHOTO: HAMISH MACLEAN
More than 200 people came through the doors at the Oamaru Islamic Centre yesterday to find out more about the Islamic faith and the people who practise the religion in Oamaru.

Oamaru Islamic Centre treasurer Hendriani Trisaptayuni said the turnout was "amazing" as the Trent St centre opened its doors to allow curious Oamaru residents to observe prayers, get henna tattoos, learn to write their name in Arabic, try a hijab, share food, and get to know Oamaru's Islamic community.

"Not many people talk about religions," Mrs Trisaptayuni said.

"Some of the people, for example, at work they don't really care [what religion she practised]. When we first came here, we found that all these people, they are simply nice people, with or without religion, they don't really care or mind what people are doing. But today, of course, they want to find out more."

Since the Christchurch terrorist attack on March 15, which killed 50 people and injured another 40 during Friday prayers, the centre had been flooded with flowers and messages of support.

And though the centre, which opened on January 27, 2017, was always welcoming, yesterday was an opportunity to welcome those in the community who wanted to visit the centre for the first time, or wanted to learn more about the Islamic faith.

Mrs Trisaptayuni, originally from Indonesia, came to New Zealand more than nine years ago and has lived in Oamaru for the past seven years.

Her close family friend, Lilik Abdul Hamid, who was like a father to her, was among those killed in the tragedy.

"The next day I was in Christchurch," she said.

She was among the more than 5000 mourners at the mass funeral when 26 people killed in the mosque shootings were buried at Memorial Park Cemetery on March 22.

She said the community of more than 60 people who practised the religion in Oamaru appreciated the heartfelt reaction of the community.

The Islamic community in Oamaru was "actually quite small".

"But because we are diverse, and we are multicultural, it does feel like a lot of people to manage," she said.

"We feel big, because we are diverse."

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