AFL Footballer Bachar Houli won two awards in “Man of the Year” as well as “Sportsperson of the Year” categories at the 13th Australian Muslim Achievement Awards held on Saturday 30 November 2019 in Sydney at Westella Renaissance in Lidcombe.
The annual event founded and hosted by Mission of Hope led by Ms Hanan Dover and its current President Ms Nasreen Hanifi recognises the outstanding contributions made by Australian Muslim men, women, organisations and businesses and celebrating their performance, achievements and success.
The 2019 gala dinner event attracted some of Australia’s most creative members of the community, their families, community leaders and supporters from all over Australia.
The diverse range of nominees, finalists and winners were selected through a strict criterion in each category by panels of judges from across Australia making the 2019 nominations most competitive in the 13-year history of the awards.
Amongst the most notable winners were Dr Zuleyha Keskin, lecturer at ISRA, Charles Sturt University in the category “People’s Choice of the Year” while veteran Muslim leader from Queensland Mr Sultan Deen, a fifth generation Australian won the Lifetime Achiever Award.
The event commenced with dual MC’s Ahmed Aboushabana and Mobinah Ahmad taking the stage welcoming the guests followed by the recitation of Quran.
The President of Mission of Hope, Ms Nasreen Hanifi gave a brief history of the awards and a long consistent track record in holding this event year after year in order to encourage and recognise community’s high achievers.
Hanan Dover during her address pointed out the high level of nominations numbering more than 200 for this year saying that all these nominees, finalists and winner are Australian heroes serving both the mainstream including the Muslim community excelling in many areas of influence and serving as role models for our youth.
Hajjah Maha Abdo was called on to present the Abyssinian Award, marked for people of other faiths to Maria Dimopoulas, an expert in cultural diversity, gender equality, justice, and human rights. Since she was overseas, the audience listened to her video message.
Nazeem Hussain, the most successful Muslim comedian in Australia was recognised as the Creative Artist of the Year and also received a second award, Event of the Year, for his initiative Stand Up for Christchurch in order to help families of victims of the terrorist attack.
Hala Ramadan, Principal of Belmore High School won the Woman of the Year award for her vision and efforts to involve her students outside of the traditional classroom setting.
The Lifetime Achiever Award winner, Sultan Deen’s family arrived from India to Australia in the late 1860’s, working in the outback as merchants. He is fifth generation Australian.
He has been involved in the family business ‘Deen Bros’ since leaving primary school in 1962. Sultan has been a committee member of the Islamic Society of Holland Park for over 40 years.
Mr Deen has been a member of the Islamic Council of Queensland, since its beginning in 1984.
He has also a delegate to the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils for over a 28 year period, representing the State Islamic Council and the individual Societies Original Sponsor of the Islamic Women’s Association of Queensland from its inception, and a board member for the first Islamic School in Brisbane, The Islamic College of Brisbane in 1994-2000, 2007-2009 and from 2010-2014.
Photos by Zia Ahmad.