Assalam Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu.
My name is Anita Newport.
My Muslim name is Ameena.
I am a Māori revert born in Whakatane Bay of plenty.
Currently living in Havelock North Hastings.
I am Tuhoe Whakatohea from Whakatane, on my fathers side.
Ngati Kahungungu on my mothers side.
I am a mother of four beautiful boys ages 23, 17, 14, 11 Alhumdullilah.
I am the eldest of four girls two of my sisters are also Muslim.
I am happily married to my husband who is a born Muslim.
Life before Islam.
As a child my sisters and I grew up in Whakatane, when I was 11yrs old we moved to Havelock North Hastings.
Our mother was a single mother after 13yrs of marriage to our father.
Mum struggled, was stressed and worried, but still she found the time to provide for us, protect us, love and shelter us with what little she had.
Mum was our mother and father and I thank Allah everyday for giving us our beautiful mum and for giving her the strength to carry on like the strong Māori wahine she was and still is.
Our dad was a member of a gang and unfortunately we didnt get to have our father in our lives due to abuse, alcohol and drugs.
We got through all the trials and hardships with mums love and support.
Through Islam transforming us
we are able to heal and forgive our father and finally form a relationship with him Alhumdullilah.
My first encounter with a Muslim.
The first Muslim I met was my beautiful blood sister Sumaya who is married to Salman my brother inlaw.
I witnessed a majority of my whanau who were Muslim praying, reading Quran, going to the Mosque.
I had the pleasure of attending gatherings and functions at my brothers and sisters homes and also attending Eids and Ramadans.
I had the beautiful privledge of meeting sister Asaama, Sheikh Mohammad's wife. I remember she had such beautiful manners, the biggest heart ever and the most beautiful smile that lit up the room.
It took me almost two years after observing, watching, listening and spending alot of time with my Muslim whanau and Muslim sisters.
I felt myself drawing closer to Islam. I knew then what I needed to do.
I went to a Muslim sister's conference, on a bus with our sisters from Hastings to Auckland.
I took my shahada there in January 2012 in front of 250 plus sisters.
I will never forget that day, I am so grateful and blessed Alhumdulilah.
What do I love about Islam?
I love everything about Islam, especially the peace and love
How Islam has improved me.
I have so much more patience, I am able to acknowledge more rights than wrong.
I control my anger and frustrations better.
I always stay positive and never give up, I try to be a better person.
I know that yes, we make mistakes and that we are all human, and no ones perfect, but we are all Allahs creations and we are all so blessed to have Allah in our lives.
My family likes my changes.
Alhumdullilah, I am so blessed to have all my family, Muslim and non Muslim who have loved and supported me through this beautiful journey of Islam and love me for who I am.
They love that I am a Muslimah and my non Muslim whanau learn something different from me Islamically everyday.
I'm still me, but do things better for the sake of Allah.
As a Māori Muslim what challenges have I faced?
Over the years since becoming Muslim I have encountered discrimination from our Māori. I've been judged and looked at by multiple cultures for being a Māori Muslim, all due to not knowing me, through lack of knowledge and ignorance.
I am proud to say we are the biggest Māori Muslim extended whanau community in Hastings, Aotearoa New Zealand Alhumdullilah.