By: Alsu Kurlow
The Christchurch Eid Festival on 17th August was a celebration to mark Eid Al Adha and bring together the Muslim and wider Christchurch community in what has been a traumatic year for many.
Due to wet weather conditions, the Christchurch Eid Festival had been relocated from McCormacks Bay reserve to Templeton Community Centre.
Humanity triumphed despite the poor weather as crowds were treated to cultural and nasheed performances, motivational speakers, children’s attractions, a variety of food, stalls selling diverse goods and even a live cooking demonstration from Gold Coast chef Hussain Baba and Hussin Goss.
Numerous parliamentarians and Christchurch counsellors addressed the event including the Hon. Dr Megan Woods – Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, the Hon. Ruth Dyson, chief Government whip, former Minister of ACC, Labour, Disability Issues, Social Development and Women’s Affairs and Cr Jimmy Chen, Christchurch City Council. The Hon. Ruth Dyson conveyed a message from Prime Minister Jacinda Arden who was overseas at the Pacific Leaders Forum and could not attend.
The event was organised by local Muslim group Canterbury Resilience Foundation, Sydney based community group Humans Unite, Mr Osman Karolia from Unity Grammar and proudly sponsored by Rotary International and Humans Unite.
Eid Festival was attended by a notable contingent from Australia including Anthony Mundine, former world boxing champion and rugby league star; Sheikh Mohamed Harby, international Quran reciter from Lakemba Mosque; Nasheed group Ahbab Al Mustafa; Muhammad Khodr, Nasheed artist and Stephanie Kurlow, pre-professional ballet student and ‘Remove Hate from Debate’ ambassador.
Sheikh Mohamed Harby mesmerised the crowd with his incredible recitation of the Holy Quran and Ngā Toi o Te Rangi and Te Pā o Rākaihautū, traditional Kapa Haka Maori performing arts groups left the audience exhilarated by the high energy and explosive show.
Muslims and non-Muslims from Christchurch and beyond turned out for the event to celebrate.
“The organisers did an amazing job bringing the event together. It was extremely humbling to be amongst a group of people who knows tragedy first hand yet can still smile. My heart broke March 15th and remains always thinking of our Muslim neighbours. We can never change what happened but we can remain side by side and say no to hate!” Said Abbie Montgomery. She was visiting the festival for the first time and said it was “beautiful” to see people from different backgrounds come together.
Janna Adnan Ezat mother of Hussein Al-Umari who died saving others during the Christchurch shootings says, “I lost my son on March 15th as he prayed in Masjid Al Noor. Since the day my son was killed, I have felt no sense of relief until this very moment. All these people are here because they have not forgotten.” The festival was a huge success and is part of the healing process for families of the Christchurch mosque attacks, many of whom were in attendance and expressed their gratitude.