Catholic Cemetery staff and Muslim Cemeteries Board members and advisers including a number of community leaders gathered for an update at the Kemps Creek Cemetery on Saturday 24 October 2020.

The guest of honour at the event was the highly poplar globe trotting public orator Sheikh Jehad Ismail, currently forced to stay in his hometown of Sydney due to COVID-19 related restrictions on travel.

The event MC, Ms Lauren Hardgrave, Client Service and Operation Manager of Kemps Creek Cemetery welcomed the guests acknowledging the presence Sheikh Jehad Ismail, Catholic Cemeteries staff led by its CEO Mr Peter O’Meara, Muslim Cemeteries Board members led by its Chairman Mr Kazi Ali and various community leaders particularly from Mohammadi Welfare Association and Alamdar Association.

Ms  Hardgrave acknowledged the presence of invited guests Mr Asif Mulla from National Zakat Foundation, Mr Hanif Bismi, President of MEFF from 5 News Australia TV and Mr Zia Ahmad, Editor-in-Chief of AMUST.

She thanked Dr AHM Kamruzzaman and Mr Siraj Islam acknowledging their help with the design of  ‘In grave bottomless timber shoring box’ to the satisfaction of religious requirements of community members and complying with Australian standards.

Mr Peter O’Meara while pay his respects to Sheikh Jehad Ismail thanked Kazi Ali for closely working with him over the years acknowledging his resourcefulness, dynamism and encyclopaedic knowledge and experience he had gained in this field during more than 30 years he had been associated with Muslim burials.

Mr O’Meara admitted that he spends more time talking with Kazi Ali than even with his wife in order to understand and organise processes associated with the requirements of Muslim burials to the satisfaction of the community.

Sheikh Jehad Ismail during his address thanked Mr O’Meara for his patience in dealing with the numerous demands of Muslim burial requirements and his partnership with Kazi Ali while collaborating together reaching successful outcomes.

Sheikh Jehad recalled his association with Kazi Ali going back more than 30 years starting from Surry Hills mosque and commended Kazi Ali for his initiatives, resilience, networking ability in bringing about consensus and successfully reaching outcomes while dealing with our diverse community and its demands.

From left: Lauren Hardgrave, Azam Khan, Sheikh Jehad Ismail, Peter O’Meara, Kazi Ali, Zia Ahmad. (Photo by Hanif Bismi)

Mr Kazi Ali while thanking all guests for their attendance recalled his association with Sheikh Jihad and Zia Ahmad for three decades and his satisfaction with cooperation from community members and the Catholic Cemeteries in these collaborative processes.

Mr Zia Ahmad recalled the passion Kazi Ali showed during the early years in establishing Muslim burial services and processes where he wanted his close friends to join the project.

“Kazi Ali was very keen for both Sheikh Jehad and myself to join the Muslim Cemeteries Board almost 30 years ago, but I excused myself saying that my friend, I am more interested in people alive than dead.”

It must be pointed out that, all three long time friends eventually excelled in their chosen field, Kazi Ali in Muslim burials, Sheikh Jehad in public daawah and Zia Ahmad in Muslim media.

Kazi Ali presenting to Sheikh Jehad Ismail.

The guests exchanged thoughts and ideas during refreshments followed by a guided tour of the Muslim Lawn area.