Christchurch Muslims Unite Diversity Through Sport

2019 Canterbury Resilience Foundation Netball Tournament. Photo: Supplied / Canterbury Resilience Foundation

Christchurch, MINA – The Christchurch Muslim Community in New Zealand which is part of the Canterbury Resilience Foundation formed a “Game Plane” program, to bring people from all backgrounds together through sports.

“Sport seems to be the one factor that brings the whole community together,” Ali, co-founder of the Canterbury Resilience Foundation, told Radio New Zealand.

Quoted from AboutIslam, his efforts to make the sports community in Christchurch welcome Muslims started in 2019.

After the terror attacks in Christchurch, Ali met with Julyan Falloon, Canterbury Chief Executive of Sport.

“I was sitting beside [Ali] and I immediately saw that he had a strategic view, and he was passionate about doing something in a wider context for the good of the Muslim community,” Falloon said.

Ali, along with Labor list MP candidate Zahra Hussaini, went to the Canterbury Muslim Liaison club as a starting point to find people to talk to and find barriers preventing Muslims from participating in the sport.

For Ali, in his community discussion, the key point to come out was the importance of diversity.

“If you talk about the Muslim community, we have more than 33 ethnicities and cultures in the Muslim community, if not more in Christchurch,” he said.

The sports uniform is also a barrier as long as it is not culturally or religiously appropriate. Uniforms also does not allow hijab in many cases.

to address these barrier, the Game Plan contains three main phases:

1- First, establish the resources and commitment to making long-term suistainable change.

2- Secondly, establish and administer funds to help with individual’s coast such as uniforms and fees.

3- Thirdly, set up two inclusive sports programs, one at the community level and one at a club level.

“We need to do something that’s going to have a systemic change and use sport as a vehicle to be more inclusive, acknowledging that some of our sports communities needs to better,” said Falloon.

Christchurch is the largest city on New Zealand’s South Island and the center of the Canterbury Region.

The region has a population of around 404,500, making it New Zealand’s third most populous city after Auckland and Wellington. (T/R7/RE1)

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)