Ahmadiyya Muslim Association (AMA) Victoria hosted its annual Australia Day multifaith dinner to commemorate Australia Day at their Langwarrin mosque on Saturday the 1st of February 2014. The dinner was attended by more than 150 guests including Interfaith Networks representatives, Federal and State MPs, Mayors, Councillors, local government officials, Victoria Police officials, fire chief, university professors, university students, Australia Day ambassador, neighbours and local community members.
‘Bait-ul-Salam’ (House of Peace) Mosque in Langwarrin, outside and inside view – picture courtesy MTA Victoria
The proceedings began with a recitation from the Holy Quran and its translation in English followed by formal acknowledgement of the traditional owners of the land and the national anthem.
Mr Rehmat Samiullah, Secretary for External Affairs AMA Victoria, presented a brief history of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and its humanitarian services worldwide.
A number of guest speakers spoke very highly on the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association Victoria’s continuous involvement in interfaith dialogue, community services and initiatives such as holding blood drives, ‘Clean-up Australia Day’ and ‘Red-Cross Door knock’ appeals.
A number of interfaith networks across Victoria were represented including Casey Interfaith Network, Frankston Interfaith Network, Dandenong Interfaith Network, Mornington Peninsula Interfaith Network and Gippsland Interfaith Network.
Member for Holt Hon. Anthony Byrne (MP)
Member for Holt Hon. Anthony Byrne (MP) said: “Why I am really proud to be here tonight is that I’m with a group of people whose major tenants is peace, cooperation, sharing, care, concern, compassion, compassion for all of us, as people of faith and as human beings – tonight literally they are opening their doors to the community – we are all here sharing Ahmadi faith and learning more about that faith – learning more about their proud contribution to this country – congratulations – your (Ahmadiyya) story has become part of the Australian story and as a consequence of that the greatness of our country will become evident not only to us here before us but to the world in next five to ten years.”
Member for South East Metropolitan Region Hon. Inga Peulich
Member for South East Metropolitan Region Hon. Inga Peulich, (MP) said: “It’s great to see three levels of government represented here today… Ahmadi Muslims are really a beacon of the Islamic religion because it doesn’t only shine the very best course of Islamic faith but also I think the underpinning philosophy of integrating into the society or the nation in which you live is so important to your success.”
Member for Cranbourne Jude Pereira, (MP)
Member for Cranbourne Jude Pereira, (MP) said: “I greatly admire the way Ahmadiyya Association conduct and we all heard the charitable deeds they are involved in the past and also how much they have integrated into the main stream of Australia, today is a living breathing example. Once again thank you very much.”
Mayor of City of Casey Councillor Geoff Ablett
Mayor of City of Casey Councillor Geoff Ablett said: “its absolute delight to be here…its absolute honour for me to be here…I think we all agree that this is a magnificent building for the Muslim community to celebrate and worship and I want to thank the Ahmadiyya Muslim association of Victoria for the work they do so congratulations and it’s a pleasure for me to be here with the Ahmadiyya Muslim… I just want to conclude by saying that his holiness Khalifa Mirza Masroor Ahmad preaches, peace and tolerance and understanding in a multi-cultural nation like Australia whose diversity grows each year these qualities are more important than ever tonight as we celebrate …”
Councillor Roz Blades (representing the Mayor of City of Greater Dandenong Councillor Jim Memeti)
Councillor Roz Blades representing the Mayor of City of Greater Dandenong Councillor Jim Memeti said: “As I look around…we are looking at the microcosm that is Australia, it’s the Australia of the future…we are the microcosm of this wonderful country I can think of no better day than Australia Day this evening to be here with my friends the Ahmadiyya Muslims. Thank you for presenting us with such an array of multiculturalism it’s truly great.”
Assistant Commissioner Victoria Police Luke Cornelius
Assistant Commissioner Victoria Police Luke Cornelius said: “it’s also a great privilege to acknowledge your community’s participation in our national day of celebration in last week by marching in the Australia day parade and it absolutely wonderful to hear about the contribution your community makes to building a strong resilient community on which we can all be proud.”
Inspector in charge of South East Region Victoria Police Jeffrey Miller
Inspector in charge of South East Region Victoria Police Jeffrey Miller said: “We can’t do policing on our own – what does that more than policing is good strong communities and it is obvious that the work you are doing within Victoria, and throughout the world is strengthening communities. I’d like to thank you for that work and also like to thank you for extending the hand of friendship to us. I noticed on your pamphlet you have ‘love for all, hatred for none’, if we all aspire to that the world would be a much better place.”
CEO Ramahyuck District Aboriginal Corporation Dr. Ali Khan
CEO Ramahyuck District Aboriginal Corporation Dr. Ali Khan said: “I take this opportunity to acknowledge the traditional and long term input of the Ahmadiyya Association in strengthening the social fabric of Australia on one hand and their professional input in the economic growth of our nation on the other hand. Over the years it has been my proud privilege to work with the number of doctors and professional members of the association and I can tell you with confidence that the work of these doctors has been exemplary not only in the professional terms but one of the key things that they have achieved is that they have won the hearts of the people they served which is a higher achievement than anything else. The participation of the youth in the Australia day celebration and the other activities demonstrates the love and affection they have for their home land Australia. The Association has set a good trend for other ethnic groups to follow and it’s always a pleasure to work with them in different fields. I commend the work they are doing and I look forward to working with them in years to come.”
‘Harmony Creek’ a partnership project between Frankston City Council, Melbourne Water and the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association Victoria, announced by Cr. Darrel Taylor, Mayor Frankston City Council, on the occasion of the Australia Day Dinner at Bait-ul-Salam Mosque.
Cr. Darrel Taylor announcing the Harmony Creek project
“ I’m going to pay a tribute to the Ahmadiyya Association Victoria for putting on this event today. I have to tell you a good news story…so I am ecstatic to announce a new partnership between Frankston city Council, Melbourne Water and the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association Victoria for the public realm work of the creek area…a great news story that will allow the local community here to go jogging around the creek area, have picnics and the area would be enhanced and beautified for the community to use and I think it’s just a great example of how the mateship and giving back comes into play so I think its quite appropriate that today on Australia Day I make that announcement…so I really have to say to you President Javed and to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association that Frankston city council is proud that you have called Langwarrin home and we look forward to further partnerships in the future.”
Mayor Frankston City Council Cr Darrel Taylor & Mr Javed Safdar Choudhary, President AMA Victoria
In his concluding remarks Mr. Safdar Javed Choudhary, President of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association Victoria said, “Allah Almighy says in the Holy Quran that “you cannot be thankful and grateful to the Creator unless you become thankful to fellow human beings.”…I stand humbled and thankful to you all, ladies and gentlemen, for gracing us the pleasure of your company and attending this dinner. Thank you all for making this dinner so beautiful. Your presence here today shows the real beauty of the our great country Australia and our great multifaith and multicultural society.”
The presentations came to conclusion with the silent prayer that was followed by a delightful dinner.