Sada-e-Watan Sydney ™

The 23rd ICPA Ramadan Dinner 2016 – A landmark event

His Excellency General, Hon. David Hurley, Governor of New South Wales was Chief Guest of the Islamic Charity Projects Association 23rd Ramadan Dinner

The Islamic Charity Projects Association held its 23rd Ramadan Dinner on 10th of June 2016 at Al-Amanah College Community Hall, Liverpool, hosting over 320 official guests and bolstering honourable community merits. Twenty three years ago, the inaugural ICPA Ramadan Dinner set the trend. Since then it has continued to raise the bench mark for Ramadan Dinners (Iftars) in the community, maintaining a top position on many fronts.

Unlike any other in calibre and inclusion, the ICPA Ramadan Dinner remains a platform for unity, rewarding moderation and inspiring dialogue on social and global affairs.
The ICPA Ramadan Dinner has become a landmark event and a focus for who’s who among the Australian and Muslim societies, attending it every year.

Dr Ghayath OAM

Hosted by the ICPA President Dr. Ghayath Al-Shelh OAM, the official guests included:

His Excellency General, Hon. David Hurley, Governor of New South Wales
Vice Chairman of Darulfatwa Australia, his eminence Sheikh Ibrahim Ash-Shafie,
Head of Education Department in ICPA Mr Muhammad Dana
ICPA – Sydney Branch Manager, Mohammad Chams
Prime Minister of Australia Malcolm Turnbull represented by Hon. Craig Laundy MP
Leader of the Opposition Bill Shorten, represented by Chris Hayes MP
NSW Premier Mike Baird represented by Hon. John Ajaka
NSW Leader of the opposition the Hon. Luke Foley
Mr. Paul Lynch MP
Ms. Linda Burney MP
Hon. Shaoquett Moselmane MLC
Shadow Minister, Guy Zangari MP
Community Imams and Sheikhs
Guest Sheikhs from Egypt
Consul General of Egypt, Yusuf Shawqi
Honorary Consul General for Bangladesh, Anthony Khouri OAM
Honorary Consul General for Syria, Maher Dabbagh
Mayors and counsellors
Lebanese political leaders
Scout representatives
Media practitioners – English, Arabic and Pakistani (Sada e Watan)
Police commanders and representatives.

The event commenced with the call for the sunset prayer, marking the time for Muslims to bread their fast, followed by dinner and a blessed recitation of the Holy Qur’an.

The Master of Ceremonies, Principle of Al-Amanah College High School, Mr. Ayman Alwan opened the series of official talks inviting the ICPA Present Dr. Ghayath Al-Shelh OAM to the stage.

In an agenda setting speech, Dr. Al-Shelh encapsulated the value of Ramadan, the role of the ICPA in the community and the importance of addressing world affairs. He said,

“The iconic annual Ramadan Dinner of the ICPA will always be an event that unites, gratifies and enlightens. It is a symbol of our profound commitment to inclusion and openness and an event that celebrates the blessed month of Ramadan.

“Ramadan…compels Muslims to comply with a higher order of social values such as compassion, understanding and consideration.
“Tonight’s massive presence of community leaders from different cultures and background and the level of politicians, is evidence to all of us that the ICPA is committed to building strong ties and to achieving unity, engagement and peace.

Dr. Al-Shelh made reference to the emergence of terror in parts of the world and stressed the importance of using the pure teachings of Islam as a tool to dismantle radical ideologies spreading in Australia.

He emphasised the need for a holistic approach to combat extreme ideologies, saying that at its core should be a strategy, “to raise Muslim awareness against radical ideologies and educate the mainstream about the general and pure Islamic knowledge.” He said,
“The history of Islam clearly outlines the normal moderate Islamic teachings and separates it from other satanic ideologies hijacking the word ‘Islam’ nowadays.
“Such distinction between good and evil is easily identifiable by sheikhs who are deeply rooted in the teachings of pure Islam. It is this pure knowledge that your association the ICPA teaches and adopts.”

After delivering his spiritual and moving brief on the blessed month of Ramadan, Darulfatwa Vice Chairman, his eminence, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Shafie said,

“Darulfatwa Australia reached out to the hundreds of millions of Muslims around the world to further solidify the stand of mainstream moderate Islam and disintegrate calls of radicalism by minority sects.
“Through its open and inclusive approach, Darulfatwa Australia strengthened its relations with international figures, and affiliated with Islamic institutions globally, on top of which is Al Azhar Ash-Sharif of Egypt Arabia”.

His closing was a practical and realistic guide for the future.

“We should put our hands together and work alongside the large Australian community to purify our society of any wrongdoing.
“We need to maintain our strength to safeguard our society from evil and misleading ideologies that will lead to segregation and corruption.
“These words must be reiterated until these meanings become engrained in our hearts and minds, and as such, living a harmonious life on the basis of strong cohesion with all fellow Australians.”

The unprecedented feature of the event was undoubtedly the recognition of the Al-Azhar Ash-Sharif graduates.

Hon. Craig Laundy MP and His Excellency General, Hon. David Hurley, Governor

For the first time ever and through an arrangement between Darulfatwa Australia and Al-Azhar Ash-Sharif Egypt, four Australian imams completed a three month course at the world renowned university in Egypt in the moderate teachings of Islam.

ICPA President Dr. Ghayath Al-Shelh OAM and Minister John Ajaka

The MC called on His Excellency General the Hon. NSW Governor, David Hurley, Dr. Al-Shelh and Darulfatwa Vice Chairman, Consul General of Egypt, Yusuf Shawqi, to present the

CG Egypt, Governor NSW, Sheikh and President Dr Al-Shelh

 achievement awards to the recipients: Sheikh Abdul-Latif Nachar, Sheikh Amr Al-Shelh, Sheikh Shady Kasem and Sheikh Haysam Hammoud.

His Excellency General, Hon. David Hurley, Governor & ICPA President Dr. Ghayath Al-Shelh OAM

The VIP panel also presented Sheikh Khaled As-Saj with an achievement award for recently completing his bachelor degree in Islamic studies from Al-Azhar Ash-Sharif, Egypt.

Following a video presentation of the achievements and growth of the ICPA as a primary community builder, the stage was set to host guest dignitary speakers. Representing the Prime Minister of Australia Hon Malcolm Turnbull,

Assistant Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Federal MP for Reid, Hon. Craig Laundy MP recognized the integral role of the ICPA and the importance of its teachings.

“I want to thank you for providing the leadership in the mosques on a daily basis, not just in Ramadan but throughout the year.

Resonating the message of building communities through knowledge by Dr. Ghayath, the leader of the Opposition represented by the Federal Member for Fowler, Hon. Chris Hayes said,
“To the ICPA, thank you for what you do. This is an organization we can all be proud of.
“Al-Amanah College is doing a wonderful job…what you are doing with your pupils, you are building kids who are going to lead us into the future.”

The inclusive approach and practice of the ICPA demonstrated by the turnout to the ICPA Ramadan Dinner, made impact on some officials.

After acknowledging the abounding list of politicians, the NSW Premiere Mike Baird, represented by Minister John Ajaka said,
“That just demonstrates the bi-partisan support that you [ICPA] have here from all sides of parliament who walk with you and stand by your side and I congratulate each and every one of you being here.”

The relaxed yet informative atmosphere fostered during the ICPA dinner encouraged insightful dialogue. In his speech, the NSW Opposition leader and shadow Minister for Western Sydney,

 Luke Foley MP noted the impact of the ICPA influenced by its commitment to community building, and commented on its activity through his global experiences. He said,
“Can I thank the ICPA for all the work you do, the educational work, the religious studies, the Muslim Scouts movements, the social and community services you provide.”
Mr Foley added that the Multicultural Mawlid concert organized by the ICPA is a Concert that is distinguished every year by the cultural diversity of the Muslim community in NSW.
He also draw a parallel between the work that the ICPA does in Australia and Lebanon’s quest to achieve co-existence in its multicultural, multi-faith society. Mr Foley said:
“What the ICPA is doing in our community in the last quarter of a century, is very much what the people of Lebanon are attempting; a co-existence between people of the Muslim faith and non-Muslims.
“You do that work every day. The great work of the ICPA.
“The teachings of the dignified sheikhs and imams and Darulfatwa-the Islamic High Council.”

The last speaker of the evening, Mayor of Liverpool Council, Ned Manoun said,
“I want to congratulate the ICPA for the wonderful work that they do and their commitment to this event that brings together community leaders from all different faiths, all different religions, different political groups together as one.”
Undoubtedly, and in relevance to the time, the discussion on how to combat terrorism echoed as a concern to all.
Commenting further on the critical work of the ICPA calling it a brave stand, Mayor Manoun said,
“Evil prevails when the good do nothing. The ICPA has always stood up in the face of evil saying we do not want extremism.
“They are actively working to prevent extremism in our community courageously and I think they should be commended.
“We should all work to build the best country in the world and if we ever need inspiration we should look onto the ICPA.”

The importance of building a knowledgeable community and to utilise that knowledge to fight terrorism was noted by many speakers, including the Liverpool Mayor.
After mentioning the establishment of the two new university campuses underway in Liverpool, he said,
“We want to build on education that exists here, the education that happens in Al-Amanah College.
“Liverpool Council supports you [Al-Amanah] and will always continue to support you. We want you to grow.”

Hon. Shaoquett Moselmane MLC and Syed Zafar Hussain

The evening ended on the high note with prayers of goodness to all, followed interviews conducted by the Muslim Community Radio 2MFM 92.1 presenters.


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