“Never felt more at home than she had in the last 10 days”.

Jacinda Ardern has continued to engage with and reassure Muslims around New Zealand. Yesterday she visited the Dunedin mosque that was considered as a target by the Christchurch terrorist, and also a Muslim child care centre.

Newshub: Dunedin Muslim’s ‘astounding message’ to Jacinda Ardern about New Zealand after Christchurch attack

A Muslim woman in Dunedin told Jacinda Ardern she only feels at home in New Zealand since the Christchurch terror attack.

The Prime Minister visited Dunedin’s Al Huda Mosque on Wednesday, which the alleged 28-year-old gunman reportedly said in his manifesto was the original target of the March 15 shooting.

The Prime Minister said she felt it was appropriate to visit the Dunedin mosque to reiterate her message of safety and inclusion for the Muslim community in the wake of the attack that left 50 dead and dozens injured.

Ardern said there was one woman in the mosque who told her she had lived in New Zealand for more than a decade but had “never felt more at home than she had in the last 10 days”.

“I found that such an astounding message in the wake of what the community has experienced,” the Prime Minister said, adding that she discussed safety with the community, particularly with Muslim women who “wear their faith”.

I think that there is no doubt that many New Zealanders have increased their understanding and reduced suspicion of Muslims living in New Zealand, many of whom are immigrants.

It’s good to see that this has had a positive spin-off.

ODT:  City’s Muslims say thank you to PM

As the Prime Minister consoled and consulted with Dunedin Muslims yesterday they had only two words for her – thank you.

Jacinda Ardern travelled to the city yesterday to show solidarity to the Islamic community following the Christchurch mosque shootings.

Parents huddled outside the Au-Nur Child Education and Care Centre in South Dunedin awaiting her arrival in the morning.

Ms Ardern, wearing a hijab, hugged parents and Muslim community leaders before entering the Islamic kindergarten.

Centre head teacher Rosy Jaforullah said Ms Ardern’s presence was reassuring to the parents.

”They now feel safer sending their children to Au-Nur.”

She admitted this would not be the case for some parents who still kept them at home out of fear.

”For that I don’t know what to do.”

It has been a difficult time for many Muslims.

In the early afternoon, Ms Ardern spoke to hundreds of Dunedin Muslims at the Al Huda mosque, which was the gunman’s original target.

University of Otago student Aisya Ahmad Zamri said there was a sense of gratitude among the people there.

”We feel overwhelmed by how she showcases her leadership skills. Not every prime minster would come here and do that.”

Otago Muslim Association chairman Mohammed Rizwan said mosque members largely wanted to thank Ms Ardern.

”We are quite happy with how she has handled this.”

Some at the mosque questioned how the Prime Minister would keep the country safe in the future. She assured them this was at the top of the Government’s mind.

Further engagement with the Muslim community is being encouraged: ‘Talk to us’ – open day at mosque

The large number of Dunedin residents asking to pray alongside the Muslim community at Al Huda mosque has prompted the Otago Muslim Association to hold an open day this Sunday.

Association chairman Mohammed Rizwan said the Clyde St mosque would be open to the public between 10am and 5pm.

”Heaps of people have been asking if they can come and visit the mosque and pray with us, and out of safety, we have been saying no to them.

”But now we have decided we should have a mosque open day, just to invite people to come and see what it is like inside and they can see us, they can talk to us, we can talk to them and we can have activities inside the mosque.”

He said the event aimed to show appreciation and acknowledge the great support being received from the wider community.

I don’t want to go and pray, but I think I will go on Sunday to talk.

Dr Rizwan was delighted to see support for the Muslim community was not waning.

He said it was possible groups of all nationalities, cultures and religions would get together to organise an event celebrating Dunedin’s diversity, and ultimately creating unity.

I think that all of us could work on this more, and not just at specific events. There are immigrants living in five of the six households in my immediate neighbourhood.