Sada-e-Watan Sydney ™
Mayors of Bankstown and Canterbury hosted a Iftar Dinner in Sydney
Mayor Khal Asfour
2014 IFTAR Dinner, Speech of the Mayor of Bankstown City Council, Khal Asfour
His emminence the Grand Mufti Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohammed
Federal & State Members of Parliament
Mayors and Councillors
The many Leaders of community organisations,
Members of the Arabic Media,
Friends one and all,
I warmly welcome and thank you for coming…your presence here tonight makes this very special celebration all the more memorable.
May I begin by expressing my deep gratitude for the faithful support and goodwill Bankstown’s Muslim community has offered me over many years.
This IFTAR….my fourth as Mayor… is a token of my appreciation, and a symbol of our enduring and strengthening friendship…
…as well as an occasion for me to pay my respects to the Islamic faith….
…which I’m honoured to do before such a distinguished audience and for the public record.
We are all guided by the values we hold dear. Values that;
1. Are underpinned by our strong faith;
2. Inspire us to lead good lives; and
3. Encourage us to respect and accept each others differences...
... as these values are what all the world’s great religions have in common.
For more than 1400 years, Islamic peoples in nations throughout the world have used this holy month as a time of self purification …and to grow in humility, patience and other noble virtues and practices such as:
1. Compassion and love for the underprivileged; and
commitment to serving and respecting our families and community.
IFTAR is the ultimate shared experience… and it is my desire that this celebration will draw our community even closer together to learn more about one another…
….and reaffirm our shared commitment to building a society based on the solid foundation of mutual respect and understanding.
It’s timely in this month of Ramadan that the wider community remember that Australians of the Islamic faith are fully and completely Australian …no less than anyone else…
… entitled to every opportunity and privilege of living in this great country …
… and an equal responsibility and share in the future prosperity of our nation and community.
We’re bound not by faith, ideology or politics-but rather our humanity… and the friendship, trust and intimacy that grows when we accept and strive to understand and appreciate one another.
Bankstown would not be the place it is today without the Muslim community… for much of our city’s economic, social and cultural strength and identity has been built by them.
In Bankstown we respect faith and beliefs - not just our own, but those who share our local neighbourhoods, shopping centres and play grounds.
One of the reasons we can make this claim is because of the leadership shown by our Muslim community.
Over generations you have brought to and instilled in Bankstown a sense of tradition, culture and spirituality…I thank and honour all of you tonight.
Tragically, the reports we are hearing from the Middle East where innocent lives are being lost… and nations torn apart by gross acts of violence including mass murder of civilians are being done in the name of Islam.
This my friends …as I am sure you will agree is not what Islam is about…. for Islam is not a religion of war and violence …but rather of peace and tolerance.
The double tragedy here is that Islam is being misrepresented...
….but tonight and for the month of Ramadan our nation’s Muslims have a chance to show the true face of the great Islamic faith by their acts of kindness, compassion and goodness to others.
Friends, breaking the fast is a symbolic occasion in which we share who we are… and what we have with each other.
… not only in the food we eat…
… but in the special relationship that exists between both our Council’s …and Canterbury Bankstown's Muslim community….
…..a relationship that is stronger than ever and ready to face the future full of the greatest of hope and expectation.
Enjoy the meal and the wonderful company….
May God richly bless, protect and watch over all of you.
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