Hon.Shaoquett Moselmane's Speech at the NSW Parliament House to Welcome Sheikh Abdul Habib Attari of Dawat-e-Islami
the original owners of this land and pay my respects to their elders past and
I acknowledge this important and rare gathering of Muslims in this oldest parliament in the country and welcome the many Muslims from the Pakistani community that have made Australia their home.
Assalam Alaikum, Good evening to you all and greetings to all brothers and sisters who will watch the proceedings across the globe.
It gives me
great pleasure in welcoming to our parliament, Sheikh Abdul Habib Attari of
Dawat-e-Islami International. Sheikh Attari is an executive member of Dawat-e-Islami
International which has its headquarters in Karachi Pakistan.
This is the Sheikh’s first visit to Australia to deliver various lectures on encouraging Muslims and non-Muslims to work together to find peace and prosperity. I note that he has just returned from Fiji yesterday, where he also spoke at a number of seminars.
By visiting Australia and Fiji to address various people on Islam and peace, supports the rich tapestry of the Islamic nations in the region, such as Indonesia and Malaysia.
There are large numbers of diverse Muslim communities in both Australia and Fiji, so the Sheik’s visit is significant as well as symbolic for the organisation as well as its members.
I am informed that Dawat-e-islami, is a global non-political organisation which was established in Pakistan by its leader, Sheikh Muhammad Illyas Attar Qadri in 1981 in Karachi. It now has many followers in Pakistan and in countries such as India, Bangladesh, Middle East, Sri Lanka, US, England, Australia, Korea and South Africa. Its books and other materials are published in various languages across the globe, including Turkish, Farsi, German, Chinese and Swahili!
The organisation also has its own website and 24/7 TV channel called ‘Madani TV’ which conveys the Madani message of love and peace. I am informed that they are present here today to film this event which will be broadcast to subscribers of the channel.
I am informed that The work that Dawat-e-Islami, varies and includes educational services, and has in fact established hundreds of Educational institutions around the world. It has also established Research and Media services, Social Services and Welfare, and Administrative Services to help Muslims of all backgrounds around the world, regardless of social, professional or financial standing.
organisation seeks to spread a message of peace and love between Muslims and
non-Muslims, which promotes and encourages greater tolerance and harmony amongst
all communities. This is something which I have spoken about in this Parliament
many times: acknowledging that not only are we lucky to live in such a
multicultural and diverse society here, but also paying tribute to the
significant contributions Pakistani Muslims, and Muslims from other communities
Respect for Muslims
It is important for all of us to acknowledge the wonderful contributions all various ethnic communities make to the broader Australian society, and in particular the Muslim community.
I am proud of
the work the Muslim communities are doing in relation to interfaith and
I am also proud of being elected to this Parliament in Australia. It just shows that no matter what religion you are or what ethnic background you are , all are one and all are part of the wider Australian Story.
I have great pleasure in the fact that I have opened wide the Doors of NSW Parliament for many communities such as yours, to be a part of the Australian Democratic process.
In fact, last September, at the annual Eid Milan in Parliament House, the Pakistani Community presented a copy of the Holy Quran to myself and my Parliamentary colleagues to be presented to the NSW Parliament. Two weeks ago, I moved a motion in Parliament to formally present the Holy Quran and it was adopted unanimously by the Legislative Council. I now look forward to this next historic milestone, formally presenting a copy of the Holy Quran to the President of the Legislative Council, NSW Parliament.
It is great to
see how our Parliament and the Parliamentary process can recognise and respect
the various religions within our society. I am sure you will agree that there
are many decent people in our community and around the world who are genuine in
their attempt to ensure peace and harmony in our society. I would also like to
bring to the Sheik’s attention, that Parliament not only hosts an annual Eid
Milan every year for the last seven years, but since 2004, at the initiative of
former Premier and current Foreign Affairs Minister Bob Carr, Iftar is also
celebrated when he said:
“Respect and understanding are the key to making our multiculturalism work. Tolerance is not enough; it is a grudging concept. Mutual respect is a better way of expressing it.”
I agree with that statement, but would also like to go one step further.
The word Islam itself connotes a meaning of peace. Muslims around the world pride themselves on being ‘tolerant’ of other religions. But as Bob Carr stated, tolerance is not enough, because it lacks empathy and mutual understanding. As Modern Muslims and citizens in a multicultural world, acceptance is the key. Religious tolerance through acceptance of others is mentioned in the Quran in several places, it is also enshrined in the Constitution of Pakistan, and has been the subject of many speeches by the founding father of Pakistan, Mohammad Ali Jinnah.
The message is as clear then as it is now, true harmony cannot come unless there is true tolerance through mutual respect and understanding. This is preached here and overseas, and in fact Australia is a signatory of six major UN human rights treaties which particularly protect people from discrimination based on race or religion.
Collectively though, and through our communities, we still have work to do in promoting this message. Events like these and the work that I do, as well as the work that Dawat-e-Islami does with other Muslim and non-Muslim communities is a good and worthy step in getting there.
It is great to be here tonight to welcome the Sheik and all of you who have come here to be part of this event. I would like to sincerely thank Sheikh Attari and Dawat-e-Islami for this special gathering tonight, and I wish him and Dawat-e-Islami the best of luck and covey to you my best wishes in your future endeavors of peace, love and harmony for all.
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