The annual Multicultural Eid Festival & Fair MEFF, a showcase of Multicultural Australia, that had to be cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19 restrictions, resumed again this year on Sunday 15 May 2022 at Fairfield Showground attracting almost 15,000 people with free entry, rides for big and small and a great variety of food and market stalls.
The MEFF reception and opening ceremony was attended by a large number of community and interfaith leaders and politicians including Senator Kristina Keneally, Greens politician David Shoebridge as well as Greens Senator Mehreen Faruqi, who was interviewed by SBS Urdu broadcasting live from MEFF on Sunday 15 May from Fairfield Showground.
MEFF is the first, the largest and the longest-running Eid Festival in Australia with a long track record as one of the legacies of its founders and workers, displaying great resilience, rain, hail or shine, passing on the skills from generation to generation to celebrate Eid through Australian volunteerism in order to put smiles on the faces of young and old in an atmosphere of peace and harmony.
Senator Keneally acknowledged the contribution of its founder, Dr Qazi Ashfaq Ahmad OAM during her keynote address from the stage saying, “his tremendous service to this local community and his passion for bringing interfaith communities together will live on through this wonderful festival that he founded, nearly forty years ago.”
Dr Ahmad realised that Eid was not being celebrated as a festival of joy as in his home country India and together with the help of his family organised the first MEFF in 1987 as a multicultural event welcoming all, thus founding the first ever Eid Festival in Australia.
The President of Australian MEFF Consortium, the organisers of MEFF, Hanif Bismi, during his welcome address said, “today, we thank Almighty God for us being here to celebrate the 37th MEEF, a journey that began in 1987 with the far-reaching vision of its founding father, Dr Qazi Ashfaq Ahmad. It is of great sorrow to the Multicultural Australian community that Dr Ahmad passed away on 10 February 2022, but we will continue his legacy with help and support from you.”
“I thank you all distinguished guest for accepting our invitation and joining us this grand event. Our distinguished guests, Hon Kristina Keneally, former NSW Premier and leader of the Senate, I understand this the time of Federal election still Kristina came to attend this event is great gesture. Mr Rokibul Islam, Ms Maha Abdo, Father Patrick McInerney and Ms Jaya Chivukula and entire Australian community without your support we cannot run MEFF. This is because MEFF is a not-for-profit volunteer organization and requires your support. However, MEFF is part of Australian Multiculturalism,” Mr Bismi said.
“I personally thank and acknowledge IFEW Islamic Foundation of Education and Welfare, ARO, Australian Relief Organization, ISRA Islamic Science Research Australia, Sajjadia Centre and Alamdar Association sending their volunteers helping us to set up the venue,” Mr Bismi concluded.
A minute of silence was observed from the stage at MEFF where Mrs Mehar Ahmad, a co-founder of MEFF and currently President of Seena Inc said, “MEFF day this year, 15 May marked the annual commemoration of Nakba Day, Palestinian Catastrophe that lead to the destruction of Palestinian society and exile from their homeland with the creation of the state of Israel in 1948, and their oppression and suffering ever since. Therefore, while we celebrate in peace, we should also remember those who are suffering because of natural disasters, wars, injustice and oppression.
This year’s MEFF was sponsored by Meezan Wealth Management, supported by IFEW with media partnership provided by AMUST, Suprovat Sydney and 5News.