The Melbourne Muslim community were cordially invited to have iftar with Australian Greens Leader Richard Di Natale on Sunday night 18 June. While The Greens have hosted dozens of iftar events for Melbournian Muslims, it was Mr Di Natale’s first time having the honour to commemorate Ramadan.
The event took place in the Coburg Town Hall with Moreland Deputy Mayor and Greens Member, Cr Samantha Ratnam mc’ing the evening. Speakers consisted of Mr Di Natale himself, Victorian Greens Senator Janet Rice and as well as prominent members of the Muslim community such as Sheikh Mustafa Sarakibi, Ruqaya Almirgani from the ICV and Iman Balla. Special guests included ICV President Mohamed Mohideen and ICV Vice President Adel Salman amongst other prolific Muslim leaders.
Inspirational speeches from The Greens party members and Muslim community leaders helped open the conversation on the current issues Australian Muslims face. Guests of the iftar dinner were invited to think about how Australians can help to shape Australia to be a stronger multicultural and multifaith nation, despite the ever-growing threats of racism and Islamophobia.
The Greens through these community events aspire to give space for Australian Muslims to interact with different communities. Mr Di Natale believes in reaching out to the Muslim community through celebrating the holy month of Ramadan, especially in light of the current divisive political climate.
“The reasons [why] we are doing it is so try to build relationships across the communities, so that people get a greater understanding about Islam and the customs and practices, and that people understand what Ramadan means, what an iftar is about, and really just to build, to foster a culture of understanding between different people in our community.”, Mr Di Natale said.
The evening was a success with a great turnout of guests from various faiths, ethnicities and backgrounds sitting side by side enjoying iftar together. The event speakers were met with great warmth and in the Q&A session many expressed desire to achieve solidarity with their fellow Australian Muslims.
Moreland Cr Ratnam believed The Greens iftar dinner helped inspire friendship.
“I think it demonstrated the power of bringing communities together and really learning from each other, stopping to listen to hear each other’s experiences.”, said Cr Ratnam.
“We’re really getting a sense of what we can now do to be united, to be friends with each other and what the friendship means in standing with each other [and] speaking out when our friends are getting attacked”
Mr Di Natale concluded the night with the promise that The Greens will always stand by Muslims as fellow Australians.