The Sydney Muslim Conference was held on Sunday 16 November at Rosehill Garden, Sydney organised by the Lakemba based Lebanese Muslim Association, LMA.
The day long conference was first of its kind held to celebrate the multi-ethnic Australian Muslim identity and diversity by pooling together a wide spectrum of talented speakers from all walks of life.
The purpose of the event was to bring young Australian Muslims from different backgrounds together in a mega event to highlight how Islam plays a positive role in a harmonious society.
Prominent local speakers included Hass Dellal, SBS acting chairman and Australian Muslim Foundation executive director, MasterChef finalist Amina El Shafei spoke earlier about what it meant to be young, Australian and Muslim, Dr Ghena Krayem, University of Sydney law academic, Saara Sabbagh, Dr Zachariah Matthews, Shaykh Hassan El Setohy, Shaykh Abdul Moez nafti, Shaykh Soner Corohlu, Imam Afroz Ali, Alia Gabres, Shaykh Ibrahim Abdullah, Sheikh Wesam Charkawi, Yasmin Abdel-Magied, and Peter Gould.
The highlight and most anticipated aspect of the event was the main speaker, Imam Zaid Shakir, one of the leading Muslim scholar from US. Imam Zaid Shakir, co-founder of Zaytuna College in Berkley gave the keynote speech, speaking on the topic of IS.
He moved the audience, saying “We Muslims need to be people who call people to sanity. Not to violence. Allah will take care of His business. He always has, He always will. You take care of yours. Keep smiling; keep your head up. Focus on Allah. Be confident that everything will be alright.”
Conference attendees lined up to get an autographed copy of the Imam’s book “The treatise for the Seekers of Guidance and Scattered Pictures”.
The event was a huge success, with hundreds attending and topics such as Muslim Women and Social Change and Islamic History, Tradition & Spirituality spoken about.
The conference had speeches on the upper level and showcased Australian Muslim Businesses, Projects and Organisations in a festive market stalls on the ground floor. The event was well received by attendees and stall holders alike.
The conference showcased common themes of migratory family experiences, communities, and the challenges and opportunities of settlement in a new country. It inspired, motivated and encouraged the sharing of these narratives.
Aftab Malik, the event organiser mentioned that the number of attendees was double the expectation. In his speech, he said “to receive mercy, you must give mercy and mercy should always be our default position” inspiring and engaging attendees of the conference.
Labor Candidate for Lakemba for the next state elections, Jihad Dib said “Let’s stop looking at the things that are wrong and start looking at the things that are right and working… We all contribute to Australia, we all contribute to what makes Australia great.”
This conference was part of the LMA Engage Challenge Grow initiative and is supported by the Australian Government Department of Social Services through the Empowering Local Communities Program. It aims to reach across the entire spectrum of young Australian Muslims in NSW, their parents and national and international speakers. In addition, this conference aimed to engage local businesses, community services and organisations and to foster ties via social networking and to cultivate understanding, improve community resilience and individual empathy despite apparent differences.