Surge in interest in the Muslim faith following attacks

Muslim leaders are welcoming the chance to dispel myths about the faith, as more Kiwis reach out.

They're reporting a surge of interest in the religion in the wake of the Christchurch attacks.

Ikhlaq Kashkari, president of the New Zealand Muslim Association, is delighted. He says everyday Kiwis are entering mosques for the first time, and wanting to learn more.

"I've had people make comments to me like, 'I used to walk down this road for years and I knew there was a mosque there but I'd never been inside."

Kashkari says it's been a good chance to dispel myths about the religion.

"We're delighted more people are coming in and trying to understand our religion better. A lot of them had [impressions] built by the media in terms of their perception of Islam."

He says mosques have always had an open-door policy.

"People are visiting the mosques, they are coming and they're joining us for prayers. They're trying to understand our religion. Definitely, there is a significant increase in that."

Fifty of his fellow believers were killed three weeks ago when a suspected white nationalist opened fire at two mosques.