The Victorian State Parliament Iftar Dinner took place in Melbourne’s Sofitel Hotel on Monday; 30 June 2014. Organised by the Australian Intercultural Society (AIS); the event was attended by 240 distinguished guests; who collectively represented more than 100 organisations and businesses.
Justice Shane Marshall introduced the program; and the event was co-hosted by two MPs: Mr Craig Ondarchie of the Liberal Party; and Hon James Merlino of the Labor Party. The keynote speech was given by the Premier of Victoria; Hon Dr Denis Napthine.
Additional speakers at the event included Mr Andrew Holden; editor-in-chief of The Age; Mr Ahmet Polat; executive director of AIS; and Mr Ergun Kirmaci; president of AIS. Dr Bekim Hasani; imam of the Albanian Mosque in Carlton; gave the call to prayer (adhan) and recited several verses from the Quran. The master of ceremonies for the evening was Ms Laura John; Australian Youth Representative to the United Nations.
The dinner also included a Whirling Dervishes performance from members of the Naqshbandi Haqqani Sufi Order.
The evening concluded with a vote of thanks by Mr Chin Tan; chairperson of the Victorian Multicultural Commission. During his speech; Mr Tan left the audience with a provocative question: “Multiculturalism isn’t just a policy. It’s something we do. Go outside Australia; mate. What happens here doesn’t happen there. So the question is; can we export it there?”
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