One of Canberra’s prominent, well respected and hard-working Muslim elder statesman, Abdul Rahman Hashim has been honoured with the Order of Australia Medal (OAM) on Australia Day, Tuesday 26 January 2021.

He migrated from Malaysia in 1969, has been at the forefront of most Islamic community and student organisations since his arrival in Australia.

Uncle Hashim, as he is now lovingly known, has not only served the Malaysian community and students in Canberra, but also has had a distinguished career with the Australian Public Service, spanning from 1972 to 1998, culminating in some senior diplomatic postings overseas.

His service to the Muslim community in the ACT is unparalleled and to date he is still serving as the Treasurer of the Islamic Society of the ACT, which he founded in 1972.

Dedicated to bridging the gap between the Muslims and the wider Australian community, Hashim has worked tirelessly to this end and today we reap the fruits of a Canberra where Islam is well accepted, and Muslims are regarded as fellow Canberrans.

To further this very admirable commitment of his, Hashim joined the Rotary Club of Canberra City in 1974 and served in various positions, including President, until 1983. He later re-joined the Club in 1987 and served until 1996, once again being elected to various positions within Rotary, including at District level. He was awarded Rotary’s highest recognition, the Paul Harris Fellow in 1987.

In his student days, Hashim was instrumental in the formation of the Canberra Council for Overseas Students, Malaysian Students Association, Canberra Muslim Students Association and the Australian Malaysian Society for the integration of Malaysians within the wider Australian community.

Most of the above organisations still exist but Hashim’s lasting legacy will be the formation of Canberra College of Advanced Education Students Union.

The College, which is now the University of Canberra still has the Students Union active and functioning for the welfare of the students.

When the above student and community bodies were initiated by Hashim, he had to take the helm as the President or the Chair to guide them through their formative years. Later he served on the committee of most of the bodies.

In total, Hashim has initiated six organisations for the welfare of students, especially, overseas and Muslim students and five community bodies for the advancement of Muslims and Malaysians in the ACT.

Despite being 79 years of age, Hashim is still active in the Canberra Muslim community. Currently he, with some other community minded Muslims, is involved in Islamic burial rituals such as the bathing and shrouding of the deceased and the arrangement for burial at the Muslim cemetery.

Hashim is a qualified and registered pastoral service provider with the Canberra Hospital’s Pastoral Care and visits Muslim patients in the two main Canberra hospitals on a weekly basis. He reads to the patients from the Holy Quran, prays for and with them and generally provides them with comfort and solace.

The latest venture that Hashim is launching is the AMAR Community Services Network, an umbrella body that will endeavour to serve the Canberra Muslim community by harnessing the various facets of government paid welfare services, which sadly most our Ummah is missing out on.

Services included in this venture are AMAR Aged and Respite Care, AMAR Community Welfare Services, AMAR Islamic Education and AMAR Community Education.

AMAR Aged and Respite Care is proposed to be a modern, up to date aged and respite care facility to cater for the fast growing and rapidly ageing Muslim population in Canberra.

AMAR’s aim is to provide our Muslim seniors with a homelike atmosphere with full medical and professional aged and respite care and at the same time respect and cater for their religious, cultural, social and dietary requirements.

AMAR which stands for Australian Muslim Aged and Respite Care Cooperative Limited has elected Hashim as its first Chair for the Board of Directors.

Hashim is well regarded by the ACT Muslims and the greater Australian community for his diplomacy, honesty, integrity and his dedication to serve humanity to the best of his ability. His tenacity for detailed accuracy, drive and enthusiasm to help the under privileged and the deserving has made him worthy of this award.

Within the Malaysian community he is known as the “unofficial ambassador for Malaysia’’ as he not only serves the Malaysian community and students in Canberra but is well regarded by the officials of the Malaysian High Commission and is often consulted on matters pertaining to all aspects of social, religious, cultural and local events.

The award of the Order of Australia Medal bestowed on Abdul Rahman Hashim by the Governor General of Australia has gone to a most deserving, ever helpful and a staunch community-minded Muslim – an award well deserved.

May Allah shower His blessings on Hashim and grant him a long life so that his services may continue to be available to us in the future.