Article provided by the Judicial College of Victoria:
‘The Victorian judiciary… are privileged to learn about the Islamic faith and the beliefs that underpin it and, specifically, the importance and significance of Ramadan and fasting in Islamic societies.’
Chief Magistrate Peter Lauritsen 2018
The Magistrates’ Court of Victoria again welcomed the Victorian Islamic community to celebrate an Iftar dinner in the holy month of Ramadan.
On a cold, wet evening on Thursday 17 May, the annual dinner was another warm moment in the judiciary’s relationship with the Islamic community.
Deputy Chief Magistrate Felicity Broughton welcomed magistrates and Islamic community members to the dinner hosted in the chambers of the court building.
Master of Ceremonies was Ms Azmeena Hussain, Managing Senior Associate, Maurice Blackburn Lawyers, a leading figure in the Muslim community and advisor to a range of organisations and programs.
The evening featured the Adhan Call to Prayer and Maghreb Evening Prayer led by Sergeant Ali Gurdag APM, along with a Qur’an recital and translation by Mr Ahmed Hassan.
Guests also acknowledged the achievement of Leading Senior Constable Maha Sukkar, who this year was inducted into the Victorian Honour Roll for Women.
A panel discussion entitled Reflections on the Justice System and chaired by Ms Hussain was a highlight of the evening. The presenters – Magistrate Urfa Masood; Leading Senior Constable Sukkar, and psychologist and cultural intelligence advisor Ms Monique Toohey, of Nasihah Consulting Group – gave a lively and informative discussion which touched on their experience over many situations.
In a written message to dinner attendees, Magistrate Lauritsen thanked the Judicial College of Victoria for bringing the magistrates and community together for the evening of faith and friendship.
Ramadan is a time of reflection and peace and is an important month on the judicial calendar. The dinner provides an important and unique environment for Muslim community members to increase their understanding of the Victorian justice system, and an opportunity for the Victorian judiciary to learn about and strengthen their relationship with the Islamic community.
The dinner organising committee produced a brochure which included A Day in the Life of Magistrate Masood, the first female Muslim judicial officer in Victoria.
Magistrate Masood – based at Sunshine since the beginning of last year – said the best thing about being a magistrate was that she loved being in a courtroom.
She said the most challenging aspect of the job was the great responsibility of being on the Bench, balancing so many interests and making decisions which can have such a great impact on people’s lives.
Deputy Chief Magistrate Felicity Broughton closed the evening with reflections and Mr Ahmet Keskin, Australian Intercultural Society offered a presentation to the Magistrates’ Court and a Vote of Thanks for a successful 2018 Iftar Dinner.
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