Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim
IN the name of
Allah, the Most Gracious the Most Merciful
I thank Allah for bringing us together on this auspicious evening and
pray to Him to bless His messengers and every person who has made the effort to
be with us tonight.
Thank you Mr. Chairman, Good evening honoured guests, ladies and
What’s so unique about
being Aussie? Is it because our footy players tackle without padding? Is it
because the way we speak seems to end with a high pitch at the end of each sentence?
Is It because we live on an island so far away that we’re known as the people
from the land down under? Is it because we have the aussified
words mate, crickey, sheila
or fair dinkum that all somehow have no latin
derivation hence they’re really not English words? If you listen to some on
talk back radio, they seem not to have a clue that being an Aussie means that
you are a significant individual in this multicultural society, and that your
individuality is another beautiful shade of colour on a palette of a million
colours, on the most beautiful mosaic that only God can bring together.
My name is Amina Elshafei and I am currently a nursing student at Sydney University. I am 20 and live with my parents, my father is Egyptian, my mother is
Korean and I proclaim myself to be Aussie, even though I was not born in any of
the countries mentioned, I love being Australian, living in Sydney, is truly an
experience as a Muslim female. I live in the inner west, next door in Croydon Park, in a cul de sac of 84 houses of which we are the only Muslim family.
The street is generally made up of Australian families and a handful mix of
Italians, Chinese and Indians, all of whom proudly say: we are Australian. When
we moved in 12 years ago, we were unique, because we were the second family of
immigrants, our neighbours thought we were fascinating. Most of our neighbours
are of the Christian faith and many are religious churchgoers who never miss
mass. We love our neighbours, they always seem to have a minute to talk and see
how the family is doing. They always reciprocate with the warmest treatment and
smiles whenever we see them. You might think that this is a small social aspect
of life, it isn’t. Your relation with your neighbours in many cases, is the
foremost relationship that you will have. Regardless of any differences in
faiths, we are taught to respect our neighbours, to look out for their comfort
and wellbeing and enjoy the company of our neighbours and invite them over for
a cuppa or a barbie, or just a friendly chat.
Something very important brings us together tonight, it is our human
sense of friendship, our human sense of wanting to know our neighbour and the
things that are important to this neighbour.
The two great faiths, Islam and Christianity acknowledge the importance
of good neighbourly relations along with the human thirst for knowledge and
comprehension including the desire to fulfil our spiritual needs. Faith seems
like a perfect roadmap that clearly illustrates the direction for any person
who wishes to benefit from it, there are many paths in life, some long, some
short, but without a well drawn out map, one may be lost and never arrive at
their desired destination, to me, the divine faiths, the books of God provide
me with the perfect roadmap. Islam, the
way of peace does not leave me guessing about any of life’s important issues, the Qur`an and the traditions of prophet Muhammad peace and
blessings upon him have given me clear direction for every aspect of life,
including the best form of dress, good relations with parents and neighbours,
friends and colleagues, how to be a good citizen in my chosen society and the
best means of fulfilling my spiritual, intellectual and physical needs.
The scarf you wear, the cross around your neck, the beard you grow, the
rosaries you carry, the head cap you wear, the clergy robes that give you
status, the prayers you attend, the mass you gather for are only manifestations
of our devotion to, the same, God in our different ways, these diverse
manifestations indicate to each of us how united we are in our love for God,
even though each of us may express this love differently. God has blessed us in this great nation of
Australia to be able to project our spiritual identity and
manifest our love for God, this is one of the greatest blessings of being
Australian, this has become part of our national identity, an identity that we
must protect in order that our children can also appreciate and celebrate their
own spirituality also. People search and
search for spiritual fulfilment, is it not only natural for those who find it
to share this treasure with other seekers?
I share my treasure by reflecting it in my dress, my mannerism and my
general behaviour, well, I try at least, to the best of my ability.
Going back to my palette and my mosaic, how dull would they be if they
were one shape or one colour or one form or one shade? But how beautiful are they when they are so
diverse, but still manage to fit together to form a masterpiece. This is what we resemble. We are the shades
from primary colours, the primary colours are our ethnic backgrounds and our faiths
the palette is our society that we live in, it is the best country on earth, it
is Australia. We
integrate into society, just like each piece of the mosaic is part of the
whole, but we remain individuals with a belonging just like each piece of the
mosaic is unique in its shape, size and colour, our beauty is in our harmony,
but divided, we would amount to nought.
As a Muslim female, it makes me wonder what life would be like if it was
utopia, in the sense that there would be no racism, religious intolerance or
misogyny on a worldwide scale. For us women, I believe that these injustices
give us more of a reason to gain a higher level of spiritual fulfilment in
different measures. Women have and always will be the backbone of every
society. Women have provided education throughout the ages, maternal nurturing
and protection, guidance, companionship, compassion and overall justice.
I would like to share with you a reflection of the great scientist
Albert Einstein, ‘true religion is real living; living with all one’s soul with
all one’s goodness and righteousness’.
Before I leave you tonight, I would like to share with you a teaching of
prophet Muhammad peace and blessings upon him, he said to his Muslim
community: “None of you is a true
believer until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.”
God bless you all