ABOUT OTAGO MUSLIM ASSOCIATION
DUNEDIN, the most picturesque city in New Zealand, is situated in the South Island and is the largest in the Otago and Southland provinces. Â Founded in 1848, it is remembered for the gold rush in the 1860S and is famous for the first export of frozen meat from New Zealand. It is also renowned for its prestigious University of Otago, the oldest University in New Zealand. Â Dunedin is also the fourth biggest city in New Zealand.
The Otago region has a population of 195,000, with a Muslim community of approximately 1000 members. The region consists of an area of approximately 32,000 sq km making it the second largest region in New Zealand in terms of land area.
By 1995, the number of Muslim families permanently residing in Dunedin and the number of overseas students had grown rapidly and there was a need to establish a mosque in Dunedin. The Otago Muslim Association Incorporated (OMA) was thus established in that year with the aim of catering for the needs of Muslims in the city of Dunedin and the provincial regions of Otago and Southland.
The OMA was established with the following aims and objectives:
To provide facilities for Muslims in the Otago and Southland districts to practice Islam as enjoined by the Holy Quran and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
To promote and develop the true understanding of Islam between Muslims and the wider New Zealand community.
To provide Islamic educational facilities for Muslims living in the region, with special emphasis on educational activities for children and new Muslims.
To help Muslims who are on a reduced standard of living and in need of charitable assistance, regardless of place of birth, race or colour.
To develop and maintain co-operation and communication amongst Muslims in New Zealand and those overseas
With the help of local Muslims, other Muslim associations in New Zealand and around the world, the OMA managed to establish first ever mosque, Masjid Al-Huda, in the southern part of New Zealand in December 2000. Since 2001 the number of Muslim students, not only from South East Asia but also from Middle East has more than doubled with at least 30 different nationalities represented in the local community.
The OMA is one of two associations representing Muslims of Dunedin. The other
association, Muslim University Students Association(MUSA) of Otago University, represents Muslim students at the local University. Al-hamdulillah, the OMA and the MUSA work closely together to serve the needs of the wider Muslim community. In fact, the MUSA an executive committee is appointed by the OMA to manage the daily operation of the Mosque and the planning and implementation of the many activities that are held throughout the year.
OMA is registered with the Companies office of New Zealand as an Incorporated Society and is recognised as a not-for-profit organisation. It has also acquired A"donee status" with the Inland Revenue Department, which means any money donated to the OMA by New Zealand residents and local organisations qualifies for a tax rebate.
To provide facilities for Muslims in the Otago and Southland districts to practice Islam as enjoined by the Holy Quran and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and to promote and develop the true understanding of Islam between Muslims and the wider New Zealand community.
Membership with FIANZ
OMA is one of the seven Constituent Associations which make up the Federation of Islamic Association of New Zealand (FIANZ). FIANZ is a religious organisation that was established to best serve the interest of Islam and Muslim in NZ. Br Steve Johnston (OMA vice chairman) is currently the Treasurer of FIANZ.