Photos by Salim Allouche

The Community Engagement Barbeque hosted by Cabramatta’s Othman Bin Affan (OBA) Mosque on Wednesday 24 January, was an overwhelming success, drawing around 500 members of the local community.

Cabramatta is situated in the southwest Sydney Local Government Area of Fairfield, which stands out as one of Australia’s most diverse LGAs, with 53.7 percent of residents born overseas (according to the 2021 Census).

The event, held at the Fairfield Youth and Community Centre, served as a celebration of this rich diversity, attracting residents from a wide variety of backgrounds.

Families, children, and parents alike gathered under sunny summer skies to partake in the festivities, forming long queues for the barbeque, popcorn, fairy floss, jumping castle and henna.

Inside the venue, the atmosphere buzzed with activity as prominent community organisations such as Services Australia, MTC Fairfield, Fairfield Police and the Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors (STARTS) manned information stalls.

The OBA Mosque stand witnessed a steady flow of inquiries from non-Muslims, showcasing a genuine interest from the broader community, whilst OBA’s ‘parent’ organisation, the Lebanese Muslim Association (LMA), engaged young visitors in a hand-printing activity.

AMUST editor-in-chief Zia Ahmad is a strong supporter of local community initiatives.

AMUST Editor-in-chief, Zia Ahmad, a contender for the soon-to-be-announced 2023 Australian Muslim Achievements Awards’ Role Model of the Year, represented AMUST at the event, highlighting this publication’s commitment to supporting local initiatives and its great relationship with both the LMA and Cabramatta Mosque.

Mr Ahmed’s good friend Hanif Bismi, representing MEFF (Multicultural Eid Festival & Fair) at an adjoining table, exemplified another locally-based initiative.

Founded in 1985, MEFF continues to contribute to the cultural tapestry of the area, attracting around 15,000 visitors annually and this year’s spectacular event will be held on Sunday, 28 April.

OBA Cabramatta Mosque imam, Sheikh Mohamad Abdelzaher with local MP Tri Vo.

Local MPs David Saliba and Tri Vo were also present, demonstrating their support for the diverse community they represent.

Engaging with local non-Muslim organisations and initiatives is crucial for mosques as this kind of outreach fosters understanding, breaks down barriers and builds bridges between Muslim and non-Muslim communities.

By hosting events like the Community Engagement Barbeque, OBA Mosque actively contributes to the social fabric of Fairfield-Cabramatta, reinforcing the importance of unity and shared experiences.

Such events are not only celebrations of diversity but also crucial steps towards building a stronger, more connected community.