issue #176 - 30 June, 2016 / 25 Ramadan 1437 A.H.
Vic Premier Visits Mosque
The Victorian Premier the Hon. Daniel Andrews visited the Emir Sultan Mosque (aka Dandenong Mosque) at Friday Prayers on Friday 24th June 2016, as he had committed to visiting a Mosque during the holy month of Ramadan, coming immediately after the Premiers Iftar on 15th June.
The ICV President Bayram Aktepe co-hosted the Premier with Imam Salih Dogan.
Imam Salih thanked the premier for visiting their Mosque and witness first-hand Muslims celebrating the holy day of the week i.e.) Friday in weekly congregational prayers and in particular at such a sacred time in the month of Ramadan “we were honoured and humbled to host our state leader and our congregation extends our heartfelt regards to all members of parliament
Br Bayram praised the premier for his leadership and encouraged “all MP’s, state & federal, to follow the premiers lead and take the opportunity and visit a local mosque so to meet every day Muslims
The Premier re-iterated his commitment to an inclusive society, a more united Victorian community saying “such visits can only strengthen the ties and understandings amongst our diverse communities and Victoria is indeed the most successful and harmonious multicultural state in Australia”.
Muslim Connect Iftar
The ICV Muslim Connect program hosted its first Iftar on Sunday 26th
June 2016 at Manara Restaurant.
“Muslim Connect” is a post-release rehabilitation prison-chaplaincy program which attends to the needs of Muslim recently released from prison, which the ICV has been running for the past 6 years.
Program Co-ordinator Mukhtar Mohammed visits and prepared Muslim prisoners who have 6 months pending for release and then actively engages whilst in the community. Mukhtar currently case-manages over 50 brothers, who have varying needs for support, e.g.) financial, employment, housing, family, legal, health etc. however the most important aspect is to help re-integrate them back into society and our communities and prevent recidivism (returning back inside).
Br Mukhtar says “community love and attention is vital for our brothers rehabilitation. We all have a duty of care and responsibility to make our recently-released brothers feel a sense of belonging and part of our everyday activities. Reaching out and engagement is the key”.
Currently there are around 600 Muslim prisoners across Victoria’s 13 prisons. The ICV runs several chaplaincy programs attending to the varying needs of those on the inside. During Ramadan we facilitate Sahoor & Iftar meals, Taraweeh prayers and offer BBQ’s at Eid.
Convert Sisters' Study Tour
Exclusive Opportunity for Converts! 8 days
Expression of interest by 11th July 2016. Please register to firstname.lastname@example.org
. Please send your CV and a Covering Letter answering the following 3 Questions.
a) Why do you want to undertake this trip?
b) What do you hope to get out of it?
c) How do you believe you can give back to our local community?
Journey to Jerusalem – My reflections
As Muslims we were all excited to enter the Aqsa Masjid – it being one of the Three Sacred Places which Muslims are encouraged to visit and offer prayers. I remember our first morning walking down the streets for Fajr prayers being greeted by the melodious rendition of the Quran. As we approached the precincts of the Haram, we all stood in awe marveling and admiring the Dome of The Rock Mosque and finally, the Aqsa Masjid. The feelings upon entering were those of elation and emotionally indescribable, and I am pretty sure that all of us shed tears of happiness for this blessing bestowed upon us by the Almighty Allah.
On the very first morning at Fajr prayer, as we were about to commence the congregational prayer one of the young congregants made way for me to stand directly behind the Imam of the Al-Aqsa Masjid. This was indeed an honour and blessing bestowed from the Almighty Allah and I was so fortunate that it occurred on another occasion.
On the third morning after dawn prayers, Mohamed Mohideen went up to the Imam and introduced himself and said we were from Melbourne, Australia and that I was an Imam from Melbourne. This led the Imam to request me to lead the congregation that very evening at the Dome of The Rock Mosque (Qubbat Assakhra). I was astonished and in shock and I re-iterated to the Imam in order to feel reassured and he said “Come lead us in Salaah (prayer) at the Dome of the Rock Mosque”. This was indeed going to be a great honour. We relayed this message at breakfast time to the rest of the group and they were all amazed and excited. That evening whilst leading the prayer I was filled with emotion and had to control myself from bursting into tears. Reflecting and gathering my thoughts later on, I thought that this could possibly be the place where the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) could have walked and stood on that auspicious night of Miraaj.
The other note of importance was that of the generosity of the young local Muslim taxi drivers who on numerous occasions would not want to accept payment for transportation. All they requested was a supplication (Duah).
This journey has indeed taught us many lessons amongst which the importance is that of dialogue, openness, and understanding, respect of differences of opinion, sharing and caring. A journey of this nature I hope can serve as a platform for a peaceful resolution during these troubled times. We started the JJJ trip as a diverse group not knowing each other but throughout this journey we have developed friendships and bonds, we have been enriched spiritually and I am sure these memories and friendships will remain with us for the rest of our lives.
A message from our Brothers and Sisters in Al Aqsa: They convey their greetings of Salaam and they request Muslims of Australia, those who have the means, to come and visit them.
- Sheikh Majidih Essa (JJJ Participant 2016)
Victoria is facing one of its coldest winters this year and while the majority of us are lucky to have heated houses and blankets. A minority will have to make a choice between staying warm and putting food on the table for their family.
Newly arrived refugees who are not allowed to work or study and have suffered trauma from their journey or have medical ailments due to lack of care will often have to make a choice between medical treatments and paying their rent.
We don’t believe shelter, food, medicine & basic heating should be a choice but is an essential human right so we are committed through the ICV Zakat Fund to address this imbalance and assist as many people as possible.
The ICV Zakat Fund was established in 2010 and since then has distributed $290,000 to over 500 people in Victoria. These include but are not limited to Asylum Seekers/Refugees – Temporary Visa Holders not allowed to work, Victims of domestic violence, families of prisoners, the destitute and homeless and those suffering major financial debt. We are grateful and thankful for your contribution but there is still much more to be done and we ask once more that you dig a little deeper into your heart and your pocket and donate generously this Ramadan:
The Benefits of Zakat:
- Protects us from miserliness
- Reminds us to be grateful and thankful to Allah
- Happiness and satisfaction to know we’ve made a difference
- Brings people together; builds love between us
- Binds the rich and poor together under Islam
- Acts as a form of social security
- Increases our wealth
Scholars agree that Zakat distribution should be prioritised in the area where the funds are collected. There are thousands of Victorians that are in need of assistance so please donate generously this Ramadan.