Faten El Dana and Shayne Neumann MP
2MFM Open Day 2019
with the theme
The Community’s voice
The Winner of the People’s Choice
After much preparation and anticipation – the Muslim Community Radio opened its doors to the public on Sunday 14th April 2019 for the 2MFM 2019 Open Day, providing the community with exceptional opportunities for participation in 2MFM, networking between different community organisations, departments and services. The open day is also an opportunity for the community to receive behind the scenes insight into the activities and progress of the radio station committed to strengthening and representing Sydney’s multi-ethnic communities.
Carrying the theme: 2MFM; the Community’s Voice, the Winner of the People’s Choice the 2019 2MFM Open Day was made successful by an impressive turnout of 2mfm listeners and supporters – proving once more that the Muslim Community Radio is indeed the radio station of choice for Sydney’s Muslim community.
Appealing to the fun-loving social side of attendees both young and old, was a wide range of things to see and do. For the youngsters, there were jumping castles, face-painting stalls, a colouring competition and an energising round of the very popular Kids Show, presented live to an audience of highly engaged children and parents alike.
For everyone else, a variety of stalls, workshops and guided tours, including photo opportunities with the radio crew and members from NSW Fire and Rescue, the State Emergency Service, and Surf Life-saving NSW, topped off with free lunch, refreshments and desserts, ensured everyone was entertained from start to finish.
In addition to offering insider perspective on the inner workings of the radio station and answering listeners curious questions on broadcasting mechanisms, the program development process and the diverse roles of the 2mfm team – some of the days’ objectives focused on providing opportunities for networking between different community organisations, departments and services.
The relaxed, warm and welcoming setting offered an ideal environment for inter-generational and cross-cultural social interaction, giving listeners and presenters - who may have previously only heard each other on radio – the chance to finally see, meet and mingle with one another, leading to many newly formed friendships.
Of course, a 2MFM open day would not be complete without a formal program, and in this instance the formal program offered an impressive line-up of speeches delivered by a number of political and non-political representatives in attendance, including several state and Federal Members of Parliament, Commander of the Bankstown Police Area Command, broadcasting sector representatives and notably, Darulfatwa – the Islamic High Council of Australia.
Acting as MC’s for the day, were the young and talented Kids Show producer and presenter, Miss Sara Kahil and 2MFM volunteer, Mr Mohammad Zahab, who together, welcomed attendees and acknowledged the presence of distinguished guests.
The opening words of Miss Kahil and Mr Zahab were ensued by the national Anthem and a heart-warming recitation of verses from the Holy Qur’an, by Sheikh Omar Grimly.
The first in a substantial line up of speakers was 2MFM President Dr Rafic Hussein who spoke of 2mfm’s role as the media platform representing the Muslim voice in Sydney and proudly shared 2MFM’s most recent achievement as the recipient of the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia’s prestigious Tony Staley Award, presented by the Community Broadcasting Foundation.
On a more solemn note, he also reflected on the recent tragedy in Christchurch and the various ways in which it has affected the broader community, while applauding New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern for her strength, compassion and solidarity with the Muslim community during and after the traumatising incident.
Dr Hussein also spoke about the special coverage of the special 2MFM coverage after the massacre carried out by both himself and the station program Manager Mrs Faten El Dana OAM. He also praised the restraint and patience shown by victims and the wider Muslim community in the aftermath of this heartbreaking incident.
Dr Hussein, thanked 2mfm listeners and open day attendees for their unwavering support and for their role in making the Muslim Community Radio a household name that is well-known for its propagation of moderate Islamic values, saying:
“2mfm has been a voice of moderation for over 20 years…and of course we are against hate speech, we are against islamophobia and against discrimination or racism in any form…and that’s something we all need to resonate across all levels…”.
Conveying a message on behalf of Darulfatwa – the Islamic High Council of Australia, his Eminence Sheikh Bilal Homaysi, emphasised the position of Darulfatwa in embracing closer ties with all peace-seekers and its commitment to standing in solidarity with all good people against individuals and organisations who solicit acts of terror across the world, reiterating the objectives of Darulfatwa in serving the community in education, knowledge and welfare.
Acknowledging 2MFM’s role in conveying reliable Islamic teachings and sound Australian values, his eminence said:
“Darulfatwa values the great role of 2mfm in spreading the message of peace and harmony between members of the Islamic community…Yes, the media plays a major role in shaping our lives…the way people think…and the way they look at things. Darulfatwa continues to support 2mfm in all means”.
Shadow Minister for Education and MP for Lakemba, Mr Jihad Dib who was representing Acting leader of the NSW Opposition, Ms Penny Sharp, was the first of several politicians who spoke about the various ways in which Australia draws strength from its cultural diversity and the part played by 2MFM in fostering the ideals of social harmony and inclusiveness, saying:
“We have a number of community radio stations and the role of community radio stations is to bring communities together. But what 2mfm does really well, is they bring not only people from one particular community together…but they open their doors for others to be able to join in…for others to be able to understand one another.”.
“To 2mfm… congratulations, thank you for hosting the open day…thank you for opening your doors…it’s wonderful to be here.”.
Travelling hundreds of kilometres from Queensland to attend the 2MFM Open Day, Shadow Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Mr Shayne Neumann represented the Federal Opposition leader, Mr Bill Shorten and explained that his motivation for entering politics, was wanting to take a stance against hatred, bigotry and xenophobia. Mr Neumann also acknowledged the contribution of migration in building our nation and the special role that 2MFM has had in cultivating cultural awareness, harmony and integration, saying:
“The kind of Australia I believe in, is the kind of Australia I’m sure you believe in…it’s a loving and accepting Australia…it’s never about us versus them…it’s about us…and that’s why 2MFM is so important. You’ve got great programs such as Community Connect program, which I’m told is one of the most popular programs on your radio station…and young peoples’ programs as well.”
“Your voices are powerful. They share stories, experiences, wisdoms and they empower people… Through 2mfm you’re able to share your voices across Sydney, with so many Muslim Australians and around this country.”
“You have broadcast your voices and have done so for the last 25 years. So, you must be doing something right. I look forward to working with you and continue to see your work prosper into the future… Congratulations. Very well done.”
Echoing the words of previous speakers, Federal Member for the seat of Blaxland, Shadow Minister for Trade and Investment, Resources and Northern Australia, Mr Jason Clare reinforced the notion that among Australia’s biggest assets is its diversity and underscored the importance of cross-cultural interaction and awareness. Mr Clare pointed to 2MFM’s open day as an ideal example of this, saying:
“…An open day here at the radio station is such a great and powerful idea…to help make sure that the whole community understands more about our local community.”
Adding, “…there’s a lot of people who have been listening (to 2MFM) for a long, long time…for 25 years…and you (2MFM) do such great work for the local community, and I’m so proud to be the member of parliament (for the electorate) that is the home of this radio station. Thank you for what you do. Thank you for welcoming us all to this open day today...”
Expressing his deep desire to share the day with and stand by his brothers and sisters of the Muslim community, Federal Member for Chifley, Mr Ed Husic reflected on the heartbreak, fear and anger that followed the Christchurch massacre. Mr Husic also drew on the calm and patient response of surviving victims and the wider Muslim community – placing emphasis on the fact that this response is evidence of the Muslim community’s commitment to peace.
Applauding 2MFM for its part in reflecting and relaying true Islamic values, Mr Husic said:
“I am just here – as we all are - as a member of our faith…just to be here and to stand as one with you, and to enjoy the fact that we have a terrific radio station, 2MFM that is building that understanding, is bringing us together and we’re just very happy to share in this day.”
The state Member for Granville, Ms. Julia Finn was the last of the political figures to address the audience, expressing her great admiration for the work undertaken by 2MFM in giving the culturally diverse Sydney Muslim community a media platform through which they can be heard and represented.
“it is through the work of my dear friend Faten El Dana and everybody else in this radio station that you constantly hear the stories of these (diverse) communities. Certainly, 2MFM serves a huge community and provides a great outlet for that community…and this is a community that isn’t heard on the radio nearly as much as it should be. So, I think it’s really important to acknowledge that it’s been over 20 years that you’ve been providing this voice for the Muslim community here…And certainly, 2MFM compared to a lot of the commercial radio stations is far more inclusive, not just of your own community, but of your role in wider Australia…and I think that’s something that’s very important to be heard, because too often radio can be used as a tool of division in a chase for ratings and advertising revenue, …..that can cause a lot of damage .…”
The state member for the seat of Auburn Ms. Lynda Voltz, was also among the political attendance, kindly accepting 2MFM’s invitation as an expression of support for the Muslim Community Radio and the Sydney Muslim community at large.
Giving 2MFM a gleaming review was Community Broadcasting Association of Australia President, Mr Phillip Randell, who commended the radio station on its consistent efforts and impressive achievements, the latest of which was the prestigious Tony Staley Award.
2MFM was presented with the award at the CBAA Annual Conference in November 2018, for excellence in community broadcasting. 2MFM received this recognition for its promotion of the values of diversity, access and independence.
Explaining how 2MFM promotes these values, Mr Randell said:
“The station does this by providing a platform for wider Muslim communities involved in broadcasting, allowing access to the many languages that reflect the diversity of your communities…whilst also adapting to meet changing community needs.”
Furthermore, Mr Randell said, “…2MFM proudly plays a unique role, dispelling myths and misconceptions about Islam to promote inclusion and harmony…I’m proud to work within the sector…and I’m proud that 2MFM is one of the great stations in our sector…the CBAA looks forward to working with 2mfm into the future.”
Joining other emergency service personnel at the 2MFM 2019 Open Day was Superintendent Michael O’Toole, Commander of the Bankstown Police Area Command, also weighed in on the Christchurch massacre and credited the calm and compassionate response of the Muslim community.
Superintendent O’Toole said he takes great pleasure in assisting in the dispelling of misbeliefs about what it is that Muslims stand for, conceding that maintaining peace, harmony and order is dependent on good communication between all parties.
The Superintendent acknowledged the pivotal role 2MFM plays in imparting clear information, saying:
“2MFM is one of those avenues or vessels which we use to ensure that we have that clear, unbiased and sensible communication. So, thank you very much for your efforts in the community…and I look forward to continuing to work with you (2MFM) for the betterment of the community.”
Bringing the formal program to conclusion was a final address given by Mr Majid Piracha, a Member of the National Ethnic and Multicultural Broadcaster’s Council Board, NEMBC, who relayed a message on behalf of NEMBC President, Mr Nick Dmyterko in which he highlighted the significance of 2mfm’s service to the ethnically diverse Muslim community over a period of 24 years, saying:
“It is invigorating to hear that your station has been in service to your community here in Sydney for over 24 years. Not only have you given to your community, but you are the ground breakers of Muslim community radio, for you are the only Muslim Community radio station in Australia. This, in itself, is a major achievement owing to the fact that community funding was almost impossible to attain, and yet you persisted and today we can see the rewards of your success.”
Mr Piracha went on to say:
“2MFM is a shining example of the commitment that is required at a grassroots level, with the dedication of communities to maintain their voice… The National Ethnic and Multicultural Broadcasters Council stands by 2MFM and the hard work and dedication they do on a weekly basis to build social cohesion and keep their voice in the community… We highly value the work 2MFM does for the Sydney community but also what it represents to our national community broadcasting sector.”
Following on from the common themes of diversity, inclusiveness, cohesion and collaboration which were at the core of each and every speech, it seemed quite appropriate to bring the formal program to a close with the performance of a highly relevant song called ‘I Belong’ by Lebanese-Australian, Mariam Saad and Lea Kassar who is of Indonesian origin.
Thereafter, the focus shifted towards 2MFM’s youngest fans, who would be treated to a live, outdoor round of the Kids Show, giving them a chance to participate in a variety of educational games through which they would win some exciting instant giveaways.
Proving a popular attraction for the children and adults alike, the conclusion of the Kids Show was met with disappointment all round, but it would lead to the next exciting stop on the open day agenda, that being, the Archery art workshop, anxiously awaited by the audience who have highly interacted with the founder and president of the Maydaan Archery club , Ustadh Ahmad Karat from the Bosnian Community .
The day came to end by the announcement of 2MFM’s Best Voice Competition winner, a competition that had been open to the public for a number of weeks leading up to the open day, seeking out local talents with radio relevant skills. Mrs El Dana announced the name of the winner after listing the criteria used to determine the best voice for this year’s competition.
Those too young to take part in the Best Voice Competition were given the opportunity to showcase their artistic talents through a Colouring competition on the day, with the top three artistic talents also taking home some fantastic giveaways.
Overall, the 2MFM 2019 Open Day proved to be an all-round success, made so by the support and encouragement of the community, our loyal listener base and the collective effort of 2MFM staff and volunteers who have contributed greatly to the stellar reputation that the Muslim Community Radio has built for itself over more than two decades.
2MFM management, takes this opportunity to thank 2MFM staff and volunteers for making this event a great success. A special thank you goes also to the community for their engagement throughout the years and we look forward to continuing our story of success with their support and participation.
Until the next 2mfm Open Day, stay tuned and continue to keep 2mfm as the choice that represents your voice.
Shayne Neumann, Federal MP
Ed Husic, Federal MP
Jason Calre, Federal MP
Julia Finn, State MP
Jihad Dib, State MP
Dr Rafic Hussein
Sheikh Bilal Homaysi
Lynda Voltz MP, Jihad Dib MP and Jason Clare MP
Faten El Dana and Syed Zafar Hussain of Sada e Watan
Dr Rafic Hussein
Faten El Dana
Email Sada-e-Watan to a friend!