Mayor Khal Asfour and the council of the City of Canterbury Bankstown hosted an Iftar on April 4th at The Grand Vaudeville venue in Condell Park, marking just under a fortnight into Ramadan. The beautifully decorated hall had enough seats to accommodate an estimated 650 people, and guests were served a delicious meal consisting of kafta, kibbeh, carrot juice, and more. Prayer areas were also set up to cater to the event, with the male area located on the western side of the dining hall and the female area being a room near the entrance of the venue.
Clr Karl Saleh served as the Master of Ceremony for the event which began with Uncle John Dickson, representing the Indigenous people, giving the Welcome to Country. He emphasized the importance of diversity in the Bankstown area and shared his enjoyment of sitting with people from different cultures and religions, saying “we can all share how we can be together.”
The Grand Mufti of Australia, Dr. Ibrahim Abu Mohamed, was also in attendance and delivered a speech in Arabic. He explained the concept of a great society and highlighted his belief that Bankstown, thanks to its leaders and community, embodies this idea. Another notable speaker was the recently elected MP of East Hills, Kylie Wilkinson. She briefly spoke about the significance of community events such as the Iftar and expressed her gratitude to the attendees.
Councillor Bilal El-Hayek gave a heartfelt speech in which he congratulated Jihad Dib, the first Muslim Minister in the new Minn’s Government in the Customer Service and Digital Government portfolio, on his recent appointment. He expressed his admiration for the diversity in the room and how it reinforced the contribution multiculturalism has made to the country. The diversity in the room was a reflection of not only the community but also the country as a whole, with people of many ethnic backgrounds coming together to celebrate a common belief.
The evening’s final speaker was Mayor Khal Asfour, who advocated for selflessness in his speech. He explained that Ramadan is not only a month of celebrating Islam but also a month of generosity and thinking about those in need. The Mayor highlighted that through helping others, Australia can become a better country for all.
After the speeches concluded, the evening ended after guests finished their final meals. Mayor Asfour thanked those who attended on social media and reiterated his support for all Muslims during their holy month, writing “I extend my best wishes to our Muslim community during this holy month. Ramadan Kareem.” Ramadan will conclude on Friday, April 21st.