Amongst the attendees were the Federal and State MPs, Councillors, Interfaith Leaders, Members of the NSW Police Force, Government Officials, Researchers and Academics, neighbours and members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community New South Wales.
(Bait-ul-Huda mosque in Marsden Park, outside and inside view – picture courtesy MTA Australia)
Ahmadiyya Muslim Association (AMA) New South Wales held its annual Australia Day celebrations at its Sydney mosque, Bait-ul-Huda (House of Guidance), in Marsden Park, on Sunday 25th of January 2015.
The event was attended by more than 200 guests including Federal and State MPs, representatives of Mayors, Councillors, local government officials, interfaith leaders, NSW Police officials, researchers and academics, university students, neighbours and local community members.
The formal 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. Three young Ahmadi kids presented short speeches on Islam and loyalty to homeland and what it means to be an Ahmadi Muslim and loyal Australian to them.
A number of guest speakers spoke very highly on the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association Australia’s continuous involvement in peace initiatives, community services, interfaith dialogue and participation in activities such as annual blood drives, ‘Clean-up Australia Day’ and ‘Red-Cross Door knock’ appeals.
Annie Harvey Manager Migration Support Program Red Cross Australia said:
“Thank you so much for the invitation to join in for the Australia Day celebrations at your beautiful and welcoming mosque. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Association Australia Marsden Park has been fund raising for Australian Red Cross during ‘Red-Cross Calling’ since 2006 and over that time our records indicate that they have raised over AUD21, 908 for Red Cross by harnessing the support of the local community and I think it’s an amazing achievement and…it gives me enormous pleasure to be here today and also to present the certificate acknowledging and appreciating the work that the Association has done on our behalf”.
Annie Harvey Manager Migration Support Program Red Cross speaking to the audience
The Hon. Philip Ruddock, Federal Member of Parliament and Chief Government Whip readspecial message from the Australian Prime Minister, Hon. Tony Abbott;
Australian Prime Minister Hon. Tony Abbott’s message reads:
“I send my best wishes to all attending the Australia Day celebrations at the ‘Bait-ul-Huda’ mosque. This is an opportunity to celebrate the ties that binds us, the values that sustain us, and the nation we have become…I wish everyone attending this Australia Day celebration an enjoyable event.”
Hon. Phillip Ruddock (MP) said,
“Imam, I will take great privilege in seeing the Prime Minister in two days’ time and I will convey to him the thoughts of your young Australians. Those who have fled and made Australia home…I will speak about the commitment to Australia offered first and foremost. And I must say as I read (banner on the stage), ‘Love of one’s country of residence is part of faith’ from Prophet Muhammad (SAW), it is important that all Australians understand that unifying factor at a time of some difficulty…for me the Ahmadi Muslims have been a very special community…and when I see what great settlers the Ahmadis have made, it gives me a great privilege to be able to join with you on these occasions that you are not only affirm to your faith, which you are very much entitled to, but you reaffirm your commitment to Australia and in advance to Australia and that is something that your friends are very proud to see and makes us all very proud of you”.
Hon. Philip Ruddock, Federal Member of Parliament delivered Prime Minister’s message
Hon Louise Markus Federal Member of Parliament for Macquarie said:
“Can I acknowledge the wonderful contribution that the Ahmadi community has made not just to your local community but to our nation. I often say that the greatest asset of any family, any community or any nation is its people and today as we have reflected upon what is important to some of the individuals in the Ahmadi community about Australia, we have heard about our values, we’ve heard about our openness and we’ve heard about importance of freedom and freedom of expression…so can I again thank the Ahmadi community for being such a wonderful example of what it means to call Australia home. Happy Australia Day”
Hon Ms Fiona Scott Federal MP for Lindsey said:
“Thank you Imam Kauser and the Ahmadiyya community and what a wonderful show of unity…I congratulate everyone for their insightful speeches and for taking part and embracing Australia and making Australia as part of your home and your heritage, not only a place to live but a place to call home, not only a place to work but a culture to embrace and not only a place to grow but together and people to love.”
Hon Mr Kevin Conolly MP for Riverstone said:
“I take great heart from the saying from the expressed so often when I visit this Ahmadiyya mosque, there are three that stand out and repeated frequently and core of the message that this community sends to its visitors. One of them is right behind me on the wall and that is ‘Love of one’s country of residence is part of faith’, the second and its very powerful referrers to ‘Love for all, hatred for none’, it’s a wonderful message which you bring to our community, and the third quoting from the Quran, ‘There is no compulsion in religion’, those three messages are so important for our world at this moment because there have been turbulent events focused in countries like Syria and Iraq but extending their reach all over the world even to Martin Place…and this is the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community that constantly remind us the correct and healthy interpretation of the Holy Quran and these three key messages which I have mentioned, you contribute to this wonderful country in an amazing way. I hope your voice is more widely heard when you proclaim these three things, I hope the media who have covered this event today take those three messages and say to the Australian community, this is what the Ahmadiyyas are telling us, this is their contribution to modern Australia in a special way.”
Hon Mr Kevin Conolly MP for Riverstone speaks to the audience
Hon Amanda Fazio MLC (also represented Hon Luke Fowley opposition leader for NSW) said:
“I am very happy to convey the warmest greetings from the NSW opposition leader Hon. Luke Fowley and best wishes for the day. I want to acknowledge the good work that is undertaken by your Association and not only these sorts of activities but in many other ways you contribute to the betterment of the Australian society. We’ve heard about Clean up Australia day and assisting with Red Cross, but I would also like to commend you for the level of citizenship that you encourage in the younger members of your community. I’ve often said to people if I could only hear some at school presentations days, the level of commitment to community, the level of commitment to Australia that I hear every time I come here from the younger members of your community, then I think, Australia would be a better off place all together...so on behalf of opposition leader in NSW I congratulate you for your part and contributing to the social harmony in NSW and I wish your organization every success in the future.”
Hon Amanda Ruth Fazio MLC speaking to the audience
Hon. Senator Ferati Vass (sent her recorded message) said:
“I extend my best wishes for your ‘Thank You Australia’ event today and I also wish you a very Happy Australia Day. I was pleased to recently join you for the 25th anniversary dinner for the Bait-ul-Huda mosque…Your Association has been contributing to Australia’s social cohesion since 1987. I take particular note of your annual three day convention, Jalsa Salana, which is aimed promoting peace and understanding…so I take this opportunity and thank you once again for your invaluable contribution to Australia.”
Mr Ian Morison ALP Candidate for Rivestone spoke to the audience and represented Hon Michaell Roland shadow minister for Citizenship and Multiculturalism.
BlackTown Councillor Jacklene Donaldson said:
“I was so thrilled to hear those beautiful speeches today and how they were so eloquently worded and to hear this beautiful heart cry from these young people here is just wonderful”
Detective Police Inspector David Goddard said:
“On behalf of Superintendent Jeferrey Phillipy, I wish you all a very Happy Australia Day. I have always found this mosque and its people very welcoming…every time I come here people shake my hand and I don’t know who they are, they embrace you, they listen to you…I’ve nothing but good things to say about Ahmadiyya people. I’ve been fortunate to work with two officers from the Ahmadiyya community and who are very good police officers and I think it is important that I recognize the work you have done in the community…In the end I would normally say have a good day and behave yourself but I don’t have to say behave yourself…I think the connection you have with sports, education and religion – it’s a benefit to your community and to the wider community.”
Inspector David Goddard speaking to the audience
National President and Missionary In-charge of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association AustraliaImam I. H. Kauser said:
“We’ve gathered here today to celebrate our biggest national event – the Australia Day…in reality this and all such gatherings are thanks giving gatherings to All-Mighty God who has blessed us with such a great country to live in, such a great people to live with and people of high moral values, values of service and humanity…and this is a day that reminds us about our pledges to this land that we will protect this country and we will serve this country and its people to the best of abilities and that is the real meaning of celebrating the Australia Day.
National President and Missionary In-Charge Ahmadiyya Muslim Association Australia, Imam I. H. Kauser delivers his speech
If we all celebrate our Australia Days with this spirit, a day will come when the whole world will be celebrating the Australia Day. And this is what I wish and I assure you all that this is the real wish of all of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Australia.”
He further said,
“As our most honoured guest Hon. Phillip Roddick mentioned that he will be meeting the Prime Minister in two days’ time, I would request Mr Phillip to please convey our thanks for greeting to our Prime Minister Hon Tony Abbott. We are with him and we are with Australia. And we are proud to be Australians.”
Imam Kauser said, loving Australia which is our homeland, is part of our faith and these messages is consistently coming out of our mosques, our homes and our elders to our younger generations that they must be loyal citizens of Australia and fulfil their pledges and serve the nation to the best of their abilities.
The presentations came to conclusion with the silent prayer that was followed by a delightful dinner. During and after the dinner some distinguish guests were requested to be interviewed by the MTA (Muslim Television Ahmadiyya) Australia. The proceedings of the event would be aired on community’s 24/7 satellite channel called, MTA (Muslim Television Ahmadiyya, International).