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“The most sentimental object I possess is a canvas Islamic prayer mat. It tells you what to do in each position, what to say and the order the prayer is done in. It was gifted to my husband Arthur and I, by the wonderful Uncle Paul down in Dunedin, as an acknowledgement of Arthur becoming a Muslim recently.

I hold a significant amount of value in this mat because it was gifted to us at a time in our lives when things weren’t the best with my family, and as they were the channel through which I practiced religion, that connection felt severed too. Prayer is a strong fundamental of the Muslim faith and although this gift was meant to mark the beginning of Arthur’s journey, I soon realised how much I needed it as well. With Arthur becoming a Muslim, I felt like it was my duty as his wife to lead him on this spiritual path as well as being something we could explore together.

Uncle Paul couldn’t have known how treasured and timely this gift would be. With things being so tumultuous with my family, I had forgotten how to pray, and this gift was the basic grounding I needed. It reminded me that God works in very strange ways but he’s always looking out for us and will always be there for us. I will always associate this mat with the feeling of being grounded and of never being alone, a very good reason for why it holds so much sentimental value for me.” - Amal, Te Whanganui-a-tara/Wellington (Interview: Lily Mcfarlane)

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