The Western Australia Police held a Commissioner’s Morning Tea event with Imams and Muslim leaders in Perth on 3 June 2015, at The RISE complex in Maylands.
The large event was attended by the Commissioner of Police, Dr Karl O’Callaghan, Assistant Commissioner of Community Engagement Division Duane Bell, along with Senior Officers, Commissioned Officers and Non Commissioned Officers from the Local District Teams. Over 180 leaders of Muslim communities in WA attended the event.
In his speech, Commissioner of Police Dr O’Callaghan said he was extremely pleased at the quality of the relationship between WA Muslim leaders and Police and this needed to continue. Dr O’Callaghan stated that the growing cultural and religious diversity in Western Australia meant such events were essential and they were important tools in helping establish and strengthen links between Police and diverse communities. He also wished the Muslim communities Happy Ramadan for the upcoming month of Fasting beginning in mid-June this year.
Dr O’Callaghan said during his speech that he was hopeful more young Muslim West Australians would join the ranks of WA Police, which he believed would be a very positive and practical way of increasing the organisation’s level of cultural understanding and capability.
He also said that It is important that our young people listen to their parents, teachers, Imams and Local Police Officers, and not be influenced by negative forces reaching out to them through social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. To achieve this, young people need to know they can approach these role models, and speak openly about issues concerning them. It’s for these reasons that we host these gatherings, so you know who to contact or turn to when in need of some advice or guidance. Most importantly we need to encourage everyone in our community to stay close to those who love them, and encourage each one to think carefully about their actions, where bad decisions made may impact and ruin their hopes and dreams.
The morning tea event has been a regular calendar event for the past six years in Perth. Once again this year, attendees were encouraged to chat not only with senior Police leaders but also talk with identified police officers of other ranks representing specific Perth police districts.
Assistant Commissioner Duane Bell also spoke at the event, urging mutual trust, respect and openness between Police and the Muslim communities in understanding and learning about each other.
Ustaz Wahaj Tarin, The President of Islamic Motivation and Acting Principal of the Australian Islamic College WA addressed the audience on behalf of the Muslim communities of WA. He stated that the vision of Islam for humanity was one of safety and security, peace and prosperity. He said that it was with this vision that Muslims had come to this land, from as far back as the days of the Afghan Cameleers till this very day. He also commended the recent WA police community engagement initiatives designed at building trust understanding and mutual respect. He stated that community engagement events of this sort would increase the confidence the community had in Police.
The event started with recitation of the Holy Quran and read verses were translated into English by two young students from Australian Islamic College, Kewdale Primary. Feedback received after the event showed both community members and police officers had found the event valuable. The WA Police also conducts a regular quarterly meeting with senior Muslim leaders in Perth to discuss specific to police and Muslim community issues, with this meeting chaired by one of WA Police’s two Deputy Commissioners.