The local Islamic Society of South-West Sydney held their annual celebration of the life of the prophet Mohammed last Saturday.
As with all functions hosted by the Ahmadiya Anjuman Ishat I Islam (Lahore), the evening began with an acknowledgement of the traditional owners of the land.
Guest Labor’s JihadDib, Opposition spokesman on education – and the first Muslim MP in NSW – delivered an impassioned speech about inclusion, cultural diversity and the power we all have to bring about change. “We’re all part of a bigger thing – humanity,” he said.
Australia is an inclusive country – it has embraced us all.
Jihad Dib, first Muslim MP in NSW
He stressed that crucial to every human interaction was respect for each other – respect for our similarities as citizens of this beautiful country and for our differences, and he noted the many ethnicities in Australia.
He used amusing analogies to describe the melting pot Australia has become. “We’re like tabouli – made up of different ingredients which when mixed together create a wonderful dish.”
He likened assimilation to a NutriBullett – “You put everything into it and it blends together beautifully.”
Mr Dib encouraged young people, who tend to be more disenfranchised, not to be afraid to be who they are but instead be proud of their heritage. He urged older people to mentor and guide the younger generation as he himself had been guided by family and friends over many years to make him the man he’s become.
“The biggest obstacle is the voice in your head,” he said. “Our story is just as important. This is our story,” he said, referring to how we can all contribute in our own way to making Australia the best place to live in without losing our Muslim identity.
Mr Dib emphasised the importance of inclusion. Despite media reports focusing on negatives: “Australia is an inclusive country – it has embraced us all.”
A leader is not one who has a badge but is one who serves – serves his family, his country and his community.
Jihad Dib, MP
As an example of inclusion, he’s organising a Christmas toy drive to bring joy to youngsters in Housing Commission homes this festive season by giving them some toys. Anyone may participate here You can participate in Christmas toy drive here. He urged everyone to participate in their own way to spread love and harmony not only during this season but throughout the whole year.
“I’m an educator-turned-politician. This gives me a bigger platform to bring change. My badge as a politician makes me a leader but, in fact, we’re all leaders – leaders of a family, a church, a community. A leader, however, is not one who has a badge but is one who serves – serves his family, his country and his community. And that’s how I want to be remembered.”
Society president Sadru Dean Sahu Khan presented a thoughtful insight into our beloved Prophet Mohammed (Peace and blessings be upon him) on the topic Battles of the Prophet Mohammed: Defensive or Offensive? He outlined, with references from the Holy Qur’an how, contrary to the widely held view that Islam is a violent religion, it so clearly is not. He reminded the audience that Allah, through his divine revelation to the Prophet Mohammed, only permitted war under very strict conditions, which were:
- Permission to fight is given to those on whom war is made, because they are oppressed. And surely Allah is to assist them (22:39)
- Those who are driven from their homes without a just cause except that they say ‘our Lord is Allah’ (22:40)
- And fight in the way of Allah against those who fight against you but be not the aggressor. Surely God loves not the aggressors (2:190)
He stressed that Allah’s instructions were to avoid war if possible. He emphasised the injunction in the Holy Qur’an, not to be the aggressor. He cited many verses from the Holy Qur’an supporting this. He stressed it was important to learn fact from the Holy Qur’an and the prophet’s teachings rather than be influenced by rumour and ignorance.
Full presentation available here.
The King of Medina was sung in Urdu by Zafrullah Sahu Khan whose dulcet tones encouraged us all join in the chorus.
The evening was ended by the host Ameen Sahu Khan who acknowledged the presence of members of the Lao Buddhist Society, who later acknowledge their warm welcome and how much they had learnt, and friends from different ethnicities all of whom contributed to an evening of learning, reflecting, delicious food and spreading love and harmony.
The link to the full presentation has been corrected.