Recipient of the Order of Australia 2016 medallion, Diana Abdel-Rahman is the President of the Australian Muslim Voice Ramadan radio program that aims to give the Australian audience a platform to connect with Islam.
The Ramadan program is a 24 hour daily service that airs in Canberra and online, featuring entertainment, talks by reputable Imams and interactive sessions for children.
“It’s mainly for our youth who are often disinterested because of the dry manner in which many Muslim organisations approach Islam.”
Abdel-Rahman said that a major limitation of many Islamic radio stations is their heavy focus on theology and the extensive usage of the Arabic language, making it difficult for the youth to engage with the religious content.
“An Arab woman once came up to me with her young grandson and asked me why all our programs are in English. I looked at her grandson and said that he can’t pick up a book and learn the religion, but you can. I’m doing it for him.”
Since beginning the radio program, Abdel-Rahman said that she wants to make the audience recognise the complexity of the religion as one that cannot be understood through a few lectures but rather requires more intensive study.
“It lets people know where they stand in terms of knowledge. It’s not about giving people an in-depth understanding of what is in the Quran, instead it gives them a taste of one of the many concepts in Islam.”
To her credit, the program has reached a wide audience, with many young people calling her and her work “inspirational”.
“A young woman who used to listen to the radio wrote to me last year and said that she now lets her daughter listen to the program and that it has become intergenerational,” she said.
Through more funding, Abdel-Rahman intends to one day make the radio program available to air throughout the year rather than only during the month of Ramadan.