Muslims in Toowoomba came together in large numbers at the Garden City Mosque on Sunday 14 May 2017 with families to meet and greet the members of the wider community marking the 4th Toowoomba Annual International Food Festival together with the Mosque Open Day.
In spite of the forecast for rain, the weather was exceptionally good and there were lots of non-Muslims who came to enjoy the day with members of the mosque and know about Islam and its followers in an open and friendly environment.
There were lots of multicultural food items – diverse in look, colour, and taste and obviously they were more diverse than the race, colour and faith of the participants.
Ever since the Garden City Mosque was established in 2014, the Islamic Society of Toowoomba has been regularly organising Mosque Open Days alongside Toowoomba International Food Festivals.
There were special activities for the women and lots of fun for the children. The Queensland Police entertained the kids with their vehicle and amusing horn.
The speakers on the day included Toowoomba Mayor Cr Paul Antonio, USQ Vice Chancellor Professor Janet Verbyla, Multicultural Affairs Queensland Director Ms Julie McDougall, Queensland Jewish Community Services President Mr Ariel Heber, Dr Mark Copland of Social Justice Commission of Toowoomba, Imam Abdul Kader of Toowoomba Mosque and Professor Shahjahan Khan of Islamic Society of Toowoomba.
The speakers emphasised the importance of building bridges (not wall) to spread the message of respect and strength of diversity. Everyone agreed that Toowoomba is a city of peace and leaders of the city have shown unity at difficult times.
Messages sent by the Federal Member of Groom, Dr John McVeigh MP and State Member for Toowoomba South, Mr David Janetzki MP were read in the meeting. Due to other prior commitments, they were unable to attend the event.
The mosque building was severely burned in 2014 by an arson attack at night. The perpetrator is yet to be identified. Since then Muslims a praying in a temporary timber building while working for the rebuilding of the mosque.
The speakers highlighted the resilience of Muslims in Toowoomba and noted their high level of commitment to rebuilding the burned Mosque. Everyone is looking forward to seeing the completion of the reconstruction of the Mosque building as approved by the Toowoomba Regional Council.
Many Muslims from Brisbane and Gold Coast participated in the event and visited the Garden City Mosque.
Very attractive and delicious foods were prepared and sold by many members of the local community including those from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bosnia, Eretria, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Libya, Malaysia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Syria.
The Secretary of the Islamic Society of Toowoomba, Dr Mainul Islam welcomed the participant and visitors, and thanked all the communities, families and individuals who spent so much time and efforts to make the Open Day of the Garden City Mosque and the Food Festival.
Special thanks to all the volunteering brothers and sisters who cleaned the toilets, mount and dismantle the gazebos, set up the chairs and tables, managed the stalls, and cleaned the premises after the event including placing all rubbish on the trailer.
The event was partially funded by a small grant from the Multicultural Affairs Queensland.