Sada-e-Watan Sydney ™

 Bankstown Mayor Khal Asfour,PM Kevin Rudd & Canterbury Mayor Brian Robson

Prime Minister Hon. Kevin Rudd attended Mayors of Bankstown and Canterbury Joint Iftar dinner in Punchbowl Sydney
(Coverage by: Syed Zafar Hussain,Editor-in-Chief Sada-e-Watan Sydney)

On Wednesday, 31 July 2013,Prime Minister of Australia Honourable Kevin Rudd was the special guest at inaugural Mayors of the Bankstown and Canterbury joint Iftar dinner at the Croatian Club, Punchbowl Sydney. Mr. Siddiq Buckley was MC of the function. Mayor of Bankstown City Council Khal Asfour Welcome the Guests.Mufti of Australia Dr. Ibrahim Abu Mohammed speaks about unity. Federal Minister of Immigration Hon. Tony Burke Congratulates for Holy month of Ramadan.

Chief Guest Prime Minister Hon. Kevin Rudd thanks for arranging a wonderful evening of Iftar and said that his Labor Party and Federal Government respect for Muslim Community and always appreciates positive Role of Muslim Community for the development of Australia.

Federal Minister of Immigration Hon. Tony Burke

Co host Mayor of Canterbury Brian Robson thanks PM, Federal Ministers,Members of the Parliament , community leaders and Scholars for attending this unique Iftaar Dinner.

Mufti of Australia Dr. Ibrahim Abu Mohammed

Co host of the iftar dinner, Mayor of Bankstown Khal Asfour said it was pleasing to see his idea had become a reality and the Prime Minister’s attendance was the icing on the cake.

Mayor of Bankstown, Clr Khal Asfour

“I’ve been working closely with Canterbury Mayor Brian Robson to stage a combined Iftar dinner for some time,” Mayor Asfour said.

Mr Rudd was one of around 400 people who attended the event held at the Croatian Club.
“This event typifies the close relationship which has been established between Bankstown and Canterbury Councils and their respective Muslim communities,” Mayor Asfour said.

“It’s great to have the Prime Minister take time out from his busy schedule to visit Bankstown and share a meal with our Muslim communities.

“In Bankstown we respect faith and beliefs - not just our own, but those who share our footpaths, shopping centers and playgrounds.

“One of the reasons we can make this claim is because of the leadership shown by our Muslim community. “
Mr Rudd is also a champion of multi-cultural Australia.
“Bankstown and Canterbury are two of the most culturally diverse cities in the country. It is our strength and, it’s obvious by his attendance, the Prime Minister knows this and understands its importance.”
Around 26,000 members of the Bankstown community are of the Islamic faith.

The Mayor of Canterbury Brian Robson

Co host of the iftar dinner, The Mayor of the City of Canterbury Brian Robson said he was proud to see local, state and national leaders come together for the first combined Canterbury and Bankstown City Council Iftar Dinner celebration.
“The holy month of Ramadan is observed by many in our community so it was appropriate for our two cities - Canterbury and Bankstown - to acknowledge the sacrifice and charity of our Muslim friends during this important religious occasion,” Mayor Brian Robson said.

“While many community leaders were in attendance, it was a great privilege to have the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, join us to celebrate what is very solemn occasion for our community.

“His presence was not only a mark of respect for our local Muslim community and the contribution they have made, and continue to make, but it was also an acknowledgement of our thriving City of Cultural Diversity.

“During his speech, the Prime Minister touched on the diversity of our area. Our diversity distinguishes our community from others and is something that we are proud to celebrate.
“This diversity is inspiring and making the most of it is something which we value and pride ourselves on in the City of Canterbury.

“Council works hard to create an environment which fosters social harmony and promotes social inclusion to ensure that all residents are richer for living in our City.

“Our cultural diversity will proudly be on display at this year’s Haldon Street festival on Saturday 24 August, where over 30,000 people are expected to flock to Lakemba to experience something unique and join us in celebration of the values we hold dear – respect, unity and peace.

“We are fortunate to live in a great country whereby people enjoy freedom of religion and politics, and are not persecuted for their beliefs or faith.

“We are proud to support the many communities which make up our City - the City of Canterbury is a place where Australians of many faiths live, raise families and come together to celebrate their holiest occasions -- and that includes Ramadan.

“By embracing our City’s cultural diversity, we are all richer for the experience. It is our strength and it is what makes our City of Canterbury a great place to live and work and play,” the Mayor said.

Transcript of speech by the Mayor of Bankstown, Clr Khal Asfour at the 2013 IFTAR Dinner hosted by Bankstown and Canterbury Councils, Wednesday 31 July 2013.

Prime Minister of Australia, the Honourable Kevin Rudd,
Member for Watson, Minister for Immigration, Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship and Minister for the Arts, the Honourable Tony Burke,
Member for Blaxland, Minister for Home Affairs, Minister for Justice, The Honourable Jason Clare,
Federal Members of Parliament,
State Members of Parliament,
Mayors and Councillors
The many Community Leaders,
His Eminence the Grand Mufti of Australia – Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohamed
The Consul General of Lebanon George Bitar Ghanem


Consul General of Pakistan Mr. Abdul Aziz Uqaili and Faten Dawa of Muslim Community Radio

The Consul General of Pakistan Mr. Abdul Aziz Uqaili

Members of the Arabic Media,
Friends one and all,

We are gathered this evening to celebrate an occasion of great significance in the life of this City…..
And Council’s relationship with our Muslim community.

We are honoured by the presence of the Leader of our Nation, the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship….. other elected representatives…and numerous Muslim community and religious leaders.
This is the third IFTAR I have hosted in my time as Mayor of Bankstown….and there are no words to describe how privileged I feel tonight.

This is truly a special occasion.

IFTAR is the ultimate shared experience, the ultimate in togetherness.
And though I don’t know how it is possible, each year this in particular event seems to be more bountiful than the previous.

This large gathering certainly sets a benchmark.
You only need to have a look at the guest list tonight to see the significance IFTAR is held in the wider community.
The Leader of our Nation is here along with many Government MPs.
I would like to again acknowledge the presence of our Prime Minister.
Kevin Rudd has more on his plate than any of us could imagine.
Yet somehow he has found time to break bread with our community tonight.

The Prime Minister is a great friend of multicultural Australia.
He is a great friend of the Muslim Community and a great friend of Bankstown.

Prime Minister may you enjoy yourself tonight.
I am proud to say, as the Mayor of Bankstown, and on behalf of
Everybody here tonight…best of luck for the coming months.

Ramadan is a spiritual journey like few others in our community, or in greater Australia.
Ramadan is faith.
Ramadan is family.
Ramadan is commitment.

And I’m proud to say Ramadan is a key part of Bankstown life.
Bankstown would not be the place it is today without the Muslim community.
And as each year goes by more and more local families understand this.

The fact is our community – both socially and economically – thrives off diversity.
It is who we are. It makes us a vibrant place to live, work and raise a family.
And I as Mayor take great pride in it.

In Bankstown we respect faith and beliefs - not just our own, but those who share our local neighborhoods, shopping centres and play grounds.

One of the reasons we can make this claim is because of the leadership shown by our Muslim community.
Over generations you have brought to and instilled in Bankstown a sense of tradition, culture and spirituality.
There are over 30,000 members of our community now share the Islamic faith.
And the spirit on display from each and every one of you during Ramadan, finds its way into the fabric of our streets and city life.

Ramadan brings with it a sense of devotion, direction, purpose and generosity toward others.
As Mayor, what else could I ask for Bankstown.
It is my honour to be here tonight, I hope you enjoy the meal and the wonderful company.
Thank you.

MP for Lakemba,Robert Furolo,Minister of Immigration Hon.Tony Burke and Syed Zafar Hussain

Mayor of Bankstown, Clr Khal Asfour, Shafiq Khan Chairman Al Faisal College and Syed Talal

Syed Zafar Hussain,Consul General Abdul Aziz Uqaili,Mayor of Bankstown Khal Asfour and Ejaz Khan

Federal Minister for Home Affairs & Minister for Justice  Hon Jason Clare MP and Mansoor Noor of ALP

Deputy Editor Sada-e-Watan Syed Talal and MP of Auburn Hon.Barbara Perry

Mansoor Noor Assist Sec ALP Bankstown, Immigration Minister Hon.Tony Burke and Mr. Sardar Ali

Bankstown Mayor Khal Asfour,PM Kevin Rudd & Canterbury Mayor Brian Robson


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