On the Monday 4th of April 2022, the Australian Intercultural Society along with members of the leadings parties of the Victorian Parliament co-hosted the 16th Victorian Parliament Iftar Dinner to a distinguished audience comprising leaders across society. The event was MC’d by former journalist and current President of the MEAA – Media section and AIS board member, Karen Percy. The program began with a Quranic recitation and call to prayer performed by Sheikh Alaa El Zokm from Elsedeaq Mosque. Guests were welcomed by co-hosts with speeches from the Hon. Ros Spence (Minister for Multicultural Affairs) who talked about the strength of multicultural community and the input the Muslim community had in giving it vigour and capacity to address the many issues facing the community at large. Mr Craig Ondarchie (Shadow Minister for Multicultural Affairs) highlighted the important contribution the Muslim community made to the fabric of the Victorian multicultural society. Ahmet Keskin focused on the importance of interfaith engagement and the preciousness of life and how we should maximise the limited time we have with our loved ones.
Guests had the privilege to listen to a moving keynote address by Prof Marcia Langton AO from The University of Melbourne who shared the historic stories of the Indigenous community’s interaction with the Afghan cameleers, the Macassan fisherman and merchants from the SE parts of Asia. She spoke of the friendly relationship between Muslims and the Indigenous community and recounted her experiences growing up in the outback, her participation in the annual religious festivals, her understanding of why certain work and cultural practices were stemmed from this interaction with the Afghans and share the stories that bound them together as the one people who cared for this land. She stressed these stories are not covered in detail in our schools and called for a revision to Australia’s education curriculum to allow for more content to be included about the relations our first nation’s people had during their 60,000yrs on this land.
There were floor reflections offered from the Victorian Ombudsman Deborah Glass, Richmond Football CEO Brendon Gale and the Australian Muslim Women’s Centre for Human Rights Diana Sayed. The night concluded with floor reflections and a vote of thanks offered by Andrew Crisp APM (Emergency Management Commissioner) which wrapped up a night of respect, compassion, and camaraderie among all groups of people who attended.
Special mention goes to ours sponsors Selimiye Foundation, NAB, Parker Lawyers, Football Victoria, Melbourne Water, Melbourne ISP and Gozleme King in making this another successful Parliament Iftar. For more photos please visit our Facebook Page