New Zealand Mosques Struggling with Cultural Factions

July 31, 2006

Source: The Press,2106,3748636a11,00.html

On July 31, 2006 The Press reported, "Factions are developing within New Zealand mosques as new immigrants clinging to traditional ethnic ways increasingly dominate leadership positions, a Muslim commentator says. Abdullah Drury, a former Muslim Association of Canterbury (MAC) board member who has also worked with the national Islam organisation, said conflicts were developing because of the huge diversity of ethnic groups and cultures within New Zealand's Muslim communities. 'There's just a cultural clash all the way along the road.' Drury said many Muslims felt the mosque was the last vestige of their homeland and wanted it to reflect their traditional religious ways, even if this clashed with other ethnic groups involved. 'They often think, it's a mosque, therefore it must, in some way, resemble the mosque back home.' Drury said friction within mosques had intensified as many people stepping into management positions were recent migrants with little or no experience in running organisations. Drury said there had been an increase in the number of poorly educated migrants from the Middle East and Africa, creating problems with language and cultural lines. These groups made up large proportions of New Zealand's Muslim communities and had a lot of power but very little understanding of management in New Zealand, he said. They used their numbers to vote in their own people to management positions but lacked the administrative experience to fulfill the roles as mosques back home were mostly run by the government... Drury said these issues had a lot to do with the problems in the Christchurch Muslim community. Christchurch's Deans Avenue mosque had been experiencing leadership battles for the past few months."