On Sunday 13 May 2018, Muslims from different backgrounds and all walks of life gathered in Blacktown, Sydney, to raise their voices and use their faith to tackle the issue of the cost of electricity.
The event, held in Alpha Park Hall, was organised by Sydney Alliance and its Voices for Power campaign and was led by the Alliance’s Muslim community committee, the second successful event for Abdal-Nasser AbuMustafa, head organizer for the committee and his core team.
This event involved “table talk” activities as well as a few words from distinguished guests and leaders of the Blacktown region.
The The program commenced with a talk by Sheik Jalal Al-Chami, Imam from Australian National Imams Council who put his theological input on the movement.
Guest speaker Shani from Solar Citizens unpacked the costs of the electric bill and where the money is distributed as well as the benefits to switching to solar power.
Guests and members were directed to share their own encounters with rising energy costs and their experiences with renewable energy.
Sydney Alliance is a union of 40 organisations of varying representation of communities, faiths and associations, working for the common purpose of creating a fair and sustainable city for all.
Sydney Alliance is non-party affiliated, political organization that aims to create and strengthen a just civilization. Amongst the active members of the alliance are the Australian National Imam’s Council, National Zakat Foundation and the Muslim Women’s Association.
The Voices for Power campaign has taken the voices of citizens from diverse religious and ethnic backgrounds and given them a pedestal to speak on. The campaign has pushed communities to take on positions of leadership to address the rising cost of electric bills and has pledged for equity in the access of renewable energy sources.
In this month’s event, the experiences of the Muslims of Blacktown were that of the pressures of the high electricity bills, in particular for new migrant families.
Participants also shared their lack of or experienced use of solar panels which raised more concerns about the misconceptions of renewable energy sources.
The takeaway desires for the group was for renewable energy sources, such as solar panels, to be more accessible for all and not just for home-owners.
Sheik Adid Al-Rubai, representative of the Grand Mufti of Australia Dr Abdulaziem Al-Afifi, and also part of the core team for the Muslim community committee, said, “This event has a noble purpose and benefits the wider community and all of Australia, but more importantly, it also shows initiative from the Muslim leaders of Australia. This shows solidarity with the community and that the Muslims and their leaders are really engaged to do their part in the Australian society.”