The City of Canterbury-Bankstown Council area has the highest number of Muslim residents and also the greatest percentage-wise of any Local Government Area in Australia.

In late October last year, AMUST Editor-in-Chief Zia Ahmad reported that Canterbury-Bankstown City Council had unanimously decided upon raising the Palestinian flag in front of the Council building as well as at Paul Keating Park in support of its local community and the people of Gaza until a ceasefire is declared.

Canterbury-Bankstown sadly remains one of only two of Australia’s 537 Councils to still be proudly flying the Palestinian flag as the IDF’s relentless bombardment of Gaza enters its seventh month.

Its support of Palestinians in Gaza reached another level when at its ordinary Council meeting on Tuesday 27 February, a motion was passed for 30,000 olive trees to be planted across the Canterbury-Bankstown LGA – one tree each in remembrance of the 30,000 innocent Palestinians killed by the IDF since Saturday 7 October 2023.

Councillor Khodr Saleh is a passionate supporter of Palestine.

Addressing a large gathering at the Mayoral Iftar Dinner at the Highline Venue in Bankstown on Wednesday 20 March, Mayor Bilal El-Hayek said, “Council is committed to working with the local community in planting 30,000 olive trees in recognition of the lives lost during the ongoing genocide in Gaza.”

“It is planned for the first of these trees to be planted outside Lakemba Mosque,” he further added.

Lakemba Mosque is Australia’s most iconic masjid and the Sydney Muslim community’s spiritual home, attracting 120,000-150,000 worshippers over the Ramadan and Eid period alone.

Councillor Khodr Saleh also spoke passionately at the Mayoral Iftar Dinner concerning the ongoing crisis in Gaza.