Toowoomba’s Garden City Mosque held its 11th international food festival and annual Mosque open day on Saturday 29 June 2024.

Now an important annual event in the cultural calendar of Toowoomba, the Mosque open day draws throngs of locals and visitors alike.

This year’s slogan was food, fun, friendship and faith.

The event drew throngs of locals and visitors of all ages eager to enjoy food and delicacies from around the world and to learn more about Islam, Muslims, their culture and faith.

Attendance numbers at this year’s Toowoomba Garden City Mosque open day swelled to the thousands.

Organisers estimated almost 2000 people attended from a diverse background of more than 20 countries; from Australia, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bosnia, Egypt, Eritrea, Iraq, Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and the Sudan.

Imam Dr Mohammad Aminul Islam said, “food brings people together. It starts conversations and builds bridges with community members.”

Garden City Mosque Imam Dr Mohammad Aminul Islam.

An important annual event in the cultural calendar of Toowoomba, the Mosque open day has been partly supported by grants from the Queensland government.

After guests were treated to a morning tea of sumptuous food and delicacies a formal session was held in the new Mosque building.

Sumptuous food and delicacies; just part of the hospitality extended to all VIPs and guests.

Special guests and speakers included Cr Geoff McDonald the Mayor of Toowoomba, Cr Kerry Shine, Hon Trevor Watts MP, Hon Senator Paul Scarr the Shadow Assistant Minister for Multicultural Engagement, Hon Jennifer Howard MP Assistant Minister for Treasury, Trade and Investment, the Most Reverend Ken Howell DD SSL Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Toowoomba, Right Reverend Cameron Venables Anglican Bishop Western Region, Ms Tanja Miljevic representating Multicultural Australia and Senior Constable Catherine English representing the Queensland Police Service.

Girls youth leader Ms Riona Islam recited her original poem titled ‘My Australia’ which not only attracted the attention of the guests, but was frequently referenced by many of the speakers.

Islamic Society of Toowoomba President, Associate Professor Mainul Islam said, “the speakers highlighted the contribution and cohesion of Muslims and the Mosque in the social fabric of Toowoomba.”

“The guest speakers appreciated the message of unity and commended the Islamic Society of Toowoomba for bringing people together to create a peaceful and harmonious community, breaking barriers of nationality and ethnicity.”

Much to the surprise and delight of guests Anglican Bishop Cameron Venables encouraged the audience to partake in a sing-along to his rendition of Paul Kelly and Kev Karmody’s ballad ‘From Little Things Big Things Grow’.

The Right Reverend Cameron Venables Anglican Bishop Western Region, Quuensland.

At the conclusion of the formalities a Q&A session was held followed by a tour of the new Mosque building led by the Imam.

A special highlight of the day was the viewing of an extremely rare hand written copy of the century-old (AH 1329-1330/1911 CE) Hasan Riza Hatti Mushaf-i-Serif Qur’an which is on permanent exhibition at the Garden City Mosque and only opened on special occasions.

Donated to, and first exhibited at the Garden City Mosque on 14 November 2020, the Hasan Riza Qur’an (now only opened on special occasions) was put on permanent exhibition on 13 August 2023 by its benefactor (pictured).

The Islamic Society of Toowoomba President added, “we are honoured and overwhelmed with increased attendance numbers this year and buoyed by the positive feedback received from our guests and participants, making this event one of our most successful.”

Until next year, Assalamu Alaikum (peace be upon you).