Muslim converts from three diverse backgrounds talked about their personal experiences after accepting Islam at a community event in Melbourne on Monday 4 February, organised by Islamic Science and Research Academy and Benevolence Australia.

It is very exciting to hear when a person decides to join us as a new Muslim. We all want to hear their story, their feeling, what brings them to Islam, how their families reacted.

After all this excitement and welcoming, how many of us remember the new Muslims, their needs and how they are coping with the new life style they just adapted?

How many of us make a conscious effort to make them feel welcome and accepted? Unfortunate truth is that we celebrate their blessed decision with them but then go our separate ways.

Quran recitation by new Muslim Matthew Wallis

We had a chance to hear their struggle varying from feeling welcomed in a new community to being accepted without any judgement at this recent event.

Speakers were chosen from 3 different backgrounds to better reflect the new Muslims’ profile in Australia.

The first speaker Dr Daud Abdul-Fattah Batchelor is an Australian Muslim of British-German descent, who converted to Islam over 40 years ago. He has worked in corporate and university sectors in Australia and is an environmental and earth scientist.

Participants asking questions to the speakers

The second speaker Janelle Difalco was an Australian born Italian. She has recently graduated from a bachelor’s degree on Islamic studies. She is currently doing her masters in Classical Arabic and honors in Islamic studies at ISRA.

Janelle talked about struggles of being a new Muslim as a woman.

Andrew Gardiner is a proud descendant of the Wooroondjeri Ballak clan of the Woi-wurrung people, whose traditional country covers the place now we call Metropolitan Melbourne.

Since 2006, Andrew has been accepted as an Elder and elected to the management committee and Board of the Wooroondjeri Tribal Council.

It was enlightening and quite eye opening to listen to their problems by themselves.

The event surely left participants inspired to do more to support the newest members of our community.