1 Oct 2012

First Muslim school to open in South Island

11:00 am on 1 October 2012

The first Islamic school in the South Island could be open as soon as 2014 now a site has been found in Dunedin.

The Al-Noor Charitable Trust had been looking for suitable buildings since 2009 and has just bought the city's former St Patrick's Primary School.

It will be a boarding school for senior boys and could cater for as many as 100 students.

Trust chair Mohammad Alayan says the school is important for the Muslim community because it will teach cultural and spiritual aspects that are not available in mainstream schools.

He says there is still a long way to go before the doors can open because most of the buildings will need to be modified to become a boarding school.

Federation of Islamic Associations president Dr Anwar Ghani says much of the Muslim community is happy with what general schools offer, but the new school will provide opportunities to those seeking a higher religious education for their children.

"People feel sometimes ... that they would like to teach their children - especially when they are about 11 and 12 'til 16 - the aspects of religion which will make them a better and well-informed, religiously conscious individual."