Al Siraat College, in partnership with Whittlesea Interfaith Network and St Monica’s College, hosted the interfaith Youth Forum Launch on Wednesday 4 March  in the Fountain View Room of City of Whittlesea Council.

The Interfaith Youth Forum is a grassroots projects to counter racial and religious discrimination and promote greater inclusion through visual media.
The project is financially supported by Victoria Government’s Community Harmony grants and proudly supported by the City of Whittlesea and Victoria Police.
The MC for the event was Al Siraat College Captain and Students Representative Council member Balaj Elahi, who did a fantastic job of coordinating the speakers.

Al Siraat College Captain Balaj Elahi

Opening prayer and reflections on the importance of Interfaith dialogue was shared by Mufti Aasim Rashid.
The founder of Whittlesea Interfaith Network and former mayor, Councillor Kris Pavlidis gave a wonderful speech about the importance of engaging young people in interfaith programs for greater inclusion in our communities stating “Our rituals may be different, but our values, those core values we have, are all the same.”

Mufti Aasim Rashid


Councillor Kris Pavlidis

Students from St Monica’s College and Al Siraat College each shared some very inspiring projects that they’ve been working on over the past few months which we’re received by much applause.

Ms Noori, the SRC Coordinator for Al Siraat College and Denis Zucchet, Coordinator for St Monica’s College were instrumental in ensuring the engagement of students at this event.

This was reflected in the quality of the presentations made by each of the students involved.

Students from St Monicas College

President of Whittlesea Interfaith Network, Reverend Margaret Hartley gave a heartfelt speech drawing on the speech of Martin Luther King around inclusion and the need for engage more youth.
She encouraged young people in the room to participate in future interfaith initiatives by registering with Whittlesea Interfaith Network.
The future of our society depends on people like you and me standing up for justice, equality and an end to religious and other discrimination. Each of us needs to dream of a better future. If we let our dreams for a better society shape the way we relate to everyone we come in contact with, then the community of our dreams will begin to become a reality,” Reverend Hartley said.

Senior Constable Gerald Del Bono from Australian Federal Police shared a presentation on the roles and responsibilities of AFP in keeping us all safe and the opportunities and pathways to employment for any young people looking at a career in AFP.

Senior Constable Gerald Del Bono

Students from St Monicas College presentation

The final and most touching speech of the day was made by Nur Naziihah Hafidi, who’s family have lived the experience of losing a loved one at the Christchurch mosque attacks.

Naziihah gave a powerful presentation highlighting why these grassroots initiatives are necessary.  She shared of her optimism in this project being able to empower young people with the knowledge and resources to driving change through social media.

She also gave details of the various workshops and events that are planned as a part of the Interfaith Youth Forum project moving forward.

Nur Naziihah Hafidi

The entire project is being covered by Cinespace Inc who will be supporting students in developing a final video which captures the project to be shared on various social media platforms.
This is a two year project and any schools or community groups in Victoria interested in participating in next year’s event are encouraged to contact the organisers.

Image by Tanya Kubitza