A veteran Muslim leader, Kazi Ali who has dedicated his life in serving the Muslim community in managing death and burial was recognised on Australia Day Wednesday 26 January 2022 for his services to the Islamic community.
Mr Kazi Khalequzzaman Ali OAM of Bangladeshi origin migrated to Australia from UK in 1981 and has been involved ever since in serving Sydney’s Muslim community through various mosque associations and then heavily involved since 1983 in the development and management of Muslim cemeteries.
Initially he worked with the veteran Muslim leader late Sheikh Mohammad Afif and the Lebanese Muslim Association to establish the Muslim section at the Rookwood cemetery and later established the Riverstone cemetery in 2003 by forming the Riverstone Muslim Cemetery Board (RMCB).
Based on his encyclopaedic knowledge of Muslim burial in compliance with Australian government regulations, his highly developed people skills in bringing diverse community members together and his interfaith networking abilities, he collaborated closely with Mr Peter O’Meara, CEO of the Catholic Cemeteries & Crematoria Trust (CMCT) to establish the Muslim Lawn, dedicated Muslim cemetery within the Kemps Creek Memorial Park in Western Sydney.
Kazi Ali signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Peter O’Meara in 2018 developing a close bond of understanding between the two based on mutual respect for their faiths, sharing of knowledge in burial and administration of cemeteries and will to cooperate in developing further burial spaces in various parts of Sydney.
The unique interfaith collaboration between the Muslim Cemeteries Board (MCB) headed by Kazi Ali and CMCT headed by Peter O’Meara has resulted in the successful establishment Muslim cemetery at Kemps Creek where a number of graves were sold in a very short time under the pre-purchase plan.
Being a visionary, Kazi Ali realised the shortage of burial spaces for Muslim in Sydney and has been collaborating with CMCT in developing many more cemeteries with facilities required for Muslim burials.
While specialising in cemeteries and Muslim burials, Kazi Ali has been an active member of the Muslim community in Sydney involved in the establishment of a number of Islamic associations and mosques over the last 40 years including, Rooty Hills mosque, Parramatta mosque, Sefton Mosque and the Quaker Hills mosque.
Born in 1950 into a respectable family in Comilla in East Pakistan, now Bangladesh, Kazi Ali completed his schooling in Dhaka from the Residential Model School and then obtained a BSc degree from Dhaka University in 1970.
He moved to London in 1970 to study Jute and Textile technology and later on worked there till 1980 when he performed Haj before migrating to Australia in 1981 initially working with the Sydney Morning Herald for a number of years and later at various financial institutions.
In Sydney initially he lived with his brother in law Shamsuzzaman, a successful businessman in Waverton overlooking the Harbour bridge and Opera House. Shamsuzzaman passed away during an accident in 1985.
While in UK, he got married at the age of 22 to Hosneara Zaman Ali (Munni) in 1973 and his eldest daughter Kishwar was born in 1975. Later on his second daughter Shakira was born in 1983 in Sydney.
He currently lives with his family in Cherrybrook in north western Sydney and acknowledges the support of his wife Munni in keeping the family together while he was busy in his full time job and on call 24/7 for the community members during their time of death in the family and arrangement of funeral of their loved ones.
While celebrating the award with his colleagues and friends on Saturday 29 January over lunch in Sydney, he thanked all those people who had send him messages of congratulations and wishes to acknowledge the following people who worked closely with him during the past 40 years:
- Sheikh Mohammad Afif (late) of Islamic Society of NSW (Surry Hill mosque)
- Mr Ismail Adra (late) , President of Lebanese Muslim Association (LMA)
- Sheik Tajuddin al-Hilaly, former Grand Mufti of Australia
- Imam Abdul Malik Mohammad Yusof (late) , Imam of Surry Hills mosque
- Mr Neil Kadomi (late) Founder of Parramatta Mosque
- Mr Aijaz Ahmed of Rooty Hills mosque
- Dr Abdul Haque (late) of Riverstone Muslim Cemetery Board (RMCB)
- Mr Anjum Alrafiqui of RMCB
- Mr Ayob Bhayat of RMCB
- Mr Ibrahim Mollah of RMCB
- Mr Amin Elsaid of Lebanese Muslim Funeral Service
- Dr Moinul Islam of Shapla Shaluk Lions Club
- Mr Peter O’meara, CEO of the Catholic Cemeteries & Crematoria Trust (CMCT)
- Ms Lauren Hardgrave of Catholic Cemeteries & Crematoria Trust (CMCT)
- Mr Zia Ahmad, Editor-in-Chief, Australasian Muslim Times (AMUST)
- Mr Asif Mullah of National Zakat Fund (NZF)
- Mr Md Maroff Khan of Islamic Cooperative Financial Australia Limited (ICFAL)