This November an exciting new community engagement initiative is taking place in the heart of Melbourne, expected to attract thousands.  SalamFest, a family-friendly festival which captures the true message of Islam – ‘Peace, Love and Compassion’, will be running from 24 to 26 November.

This festival of peace is designed to showcase and celebrate contemporary Muslim art, culture and cuisine with the wider community.

We interviewed Ayesha Bux, the founder of SalamFest, to discuss how this incredible idea came about and what the event aims to achieve for the Muslim community and the broader community;

Photo of Ayesha Bux on SalamFest sponsor information night

“My family, now in its 7th generation, has been in Australia since 1860’s and the idea for SalamFest came about from observations and experience of Islamophobia.

What is being shown in the media is not what Muslims think or believe.  One of the main causes of Islamophobia is not knowing about true Islamic values.

So that is why I thought let’s try and create awareness and share with the wider community the true Islamic values of peace, love and compassion.

The Muslim community comprises of over 70 different ethnicities so our contribution to the Australian tapestry in culture, art and cuisine is unique.

SalamFest also aims to showcase the diversity of the Muslim community. We want this to be a platform where we engage with the wider Australian community, foster cross cultural understanding and showcase the diversity of the Muslim community.”

A truly mesmerising series of programs and demonstrations are listed as a part of the SalamFest schedule including demonstrations of Caligraphy and Ebru arts, Sufi Whirling Dervishes, Pottery, Henna Art, Islamic Storytelling and more.  Ayesha appreciates the outpouring of positive feedback and support she’s received to develop this important initiative.

“Our 3 major partners are Islamic Council of Victoria, Islamic Museum of Australia and State library Victoria. We strongly believe in inclusion so it is a free festival and all the events except the dinner are free. We would like everyone to come and join us to celebrate the contributions of Australian Muslims to the Australian tapestry.”

“The feedback from the community has been overwhelming and we’ve received many messages of support, prayers and duas from people.  It’s very moving to see that people we don’t know are praying for us.”

We encourage Melbournians to use this brilliant opportunity to experience authentic Islamic culture showcased as a part of SalamFest and we encourage the development of many more platforms for engagement with and amongst Australian Muslims.

For more information please visit the SalamFest website at www.salamfest.comor Facebook page www.facebook.com/SalamFestau