Friday 14 July saw a remarkable crowd in excess of 800 young people gather at the Othman Bin Affan (OBA) Mosque at Cabramatta in Sydney’s southwest for a momentous youth night. 

Normally drawing in around 20-30 young attendees from the local Cabramatta area, the mosque’s fortnightly youth program took on a whole new dimension with the presence of the renowned and highly popular community figure, Mohamed Hoblos, who graciously accepted the invitation to be the special guest speaker.

Hoblos, a celebrated motivational speaker based in Sydney, is well-known for his passionate offerings on religious and social matters.

His messages particularly resonate with young Muslim men, thus setting the stage for an unprecedented turnout at the event.

To accommodate the anticipated surge in attendance, OBA officials made extensive preparations, but they could never have estimated the staggering figure of 800-plus young people who filled every nook and cranny of the Water St, Cabramatta complex, listening intently to Brother Hoblos’ hour-long oration.

OBA committee member Salim Allouche provided some insights into the extraordinary turnout.  “The brothers’ area of the masjid fits 300 worshippers comfortably for Jummah prayers, but we were able to cram in 600 for Mohamed Hoblos’ speech.”

“The adjoining gym and terrace outside the mosque hosted another 100 brothers, while the sisters’ area was also filled to capacity, with more than 150 attendees.”

The sheer silence that permeated the mosque during Mohamed Hoblos’ offering attested to the undivided attention and captivation of the audience as he touched upon various topics, with a particular emphasis on the beauty of Islam and the significance of honouring one’s parents.

And an already incredible event went to an even more amazing level when  a young brother named David emerged from the crowd and made his Shahada, which those present reacted to with a resounding round of takbirs.

Renowned for his caring and engaging demeanor towards the young, Mohamed Hoblos again exemplified these qualities throughout the Cabramatta event.

Following his official commitments, he dedicated a further hour, mingling with his appreciative young followers, warmly greeting them, shaking hands and exchanging heartfelt hugs.

Salim Allouche expressed his gratitude towards the many volunteers who efficiently managed the large crowd, the parking and the barbeque, which was a huge task in itself.

“We’ve got a great team here – the committee and many others including some of our teenagers who are also prepared to step up….everyone did a great job.”

“And I’ve got nothing but praise for the behaviour of all the attendees and want to thank them all for their impeccable behaviour.”

“Additionally, a huge shout out of course to our brother Mohamed Hoblos for giving us his valuable time and making it such a memorable night.”

As one of the few ‘older’ individuals present, I wholeheartedly agree with Salim’s observations about the exemplary behaviour of the many, many hundreds of young people in attendance.

At a time when young Muslims in Sydney often find themselves in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons, the conduct of this large group was nothing short of exceptional, leaving a lasting impression on others who were present.

When asked about the unprecedented response to the event, which attracted young Muslims from across southwestern Sydney, Salim attributed much of the numerical success to the power of word-of-mouth and OBA Mosque’s usual social media platforms.

He emphasised, “Mohamed Hoblos is always popular with the kids, and in the week leading up to the event, we fielded a lot of enquiries and feedback indicating a surge in the level of interest.”

“However, we could never have predicted 800 (attendees)!”

Reflecting on this remarkable outcome, he highlighted that such events can only come to fruition through the will of Allah.

OBA Mosque’s resident imam, Sheikh Mohamed Abdel Zaher commented, “it was a wonderful night, and everyone who was present helped to make the evening the tremendous success it was.”

“May Allah bless Br Mohamed Hoblos and reward him for his efforts.”

“Thank you everyone for this wonderfully successful night.”

Full marks to everyone associated with the organising of this event and may there be many more bumper youth nights like it – not just at Cabramatta but within the various mosque communities in Sydney and indeed all over Australia.

After all, amidst the challenges faced by teenagers in 2023, these young people represent the future.

Let’s not forget that they are tomorrow’s educators, tradies and other skilled workers, medical professionals, lawyers, imams and politicians.

May Allah guide them all as they navigate their paths forward.