Top cops head to mosque for first crash course on Islam

2:29 pm on 9 May 2021

The Police Commissioner and his top executives have undertaken a crash course on Islam for the first time.

Dunedin police have been door-knocking previous offenders.

Dunedin police have been door-knocking previous offenders. Photo: 123RF

The Federation of Islamic Associations invited them to the Kilbirnie mosque in Wellington this week.

Police say the federation asked them to consider taking an orientation on Islam and Muslims in New Zealand in the group's submission to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Christchurch terror attacks.

Maria Rawiri, who directs police commissioner Andrew Coster's office, said it was an opportunity to improve cultural understanding, empathy and confidence through learning and experience.

Executive members observed evening prayers, followed by a tour of the mosque.  

"The warm welcome and manaakitanga of our FIANZ hosts was very heartening," said assistant commissioner for iwi and communities Chris de Wattignar.

 "Learning about the history and present-day beliefs and practices of Islam was very informative."

Islamic Women's Council co-founder Rehanna Ali introduced the key beliefs, values and practices of the Islamic faith, and took questions.

"The night marked the first of many opportunities police will have to strengthen the bonds we have with the Muslim community," de Wattignar said. 

*This story was published on 9 May, 2021 and updated on 10 May, 2021 to add more information.

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