On Saturday 13 June 2015, around 170 women from all walks of life participated in an Interfaith Symposium luncheon in Baitul-ul-Salam Mosque, Langwarrin.
The theme of this year’s symposium was ‘Tolerance & Respect of other Religions.’ The conference started with a brief introduction of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association, and the involvement of young Muslim women in various community projects both locally and nationally, which included fundraising events for charities, blood donation, tree planting initiative, disaster relief efforts and cleaning up the environment.
Guest speakers seated at the front stage of the Interfaith Symposium in Langwarrin Mosque
Among the guests were dignitaries, academics, teachers, students, neighbours, and members from various interfaith networks. Religious leaders who participated in the conference included representatives from the Anglican Church Mornington, Buddhist Discussion Centre, Jewish Christian Muslim Association and Community Development, Hindu Heritage Foundation of Victoria and Vishva Hindu Parishad of Australia.
Hon. Ms. Inga Peliuch MLC, Shadow Minister of Multicultural Affairs, commended the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association for its willingness to open its doors to the wider community, thus, removing any misconception that one has about Islam. She said: “Ahmadis bring peace, tolerance, professionalism and strong family values to the Australian community. The present time is a testing time for Muslims and best time for them to open their doors to the outside world. I encourage and request all Muslims to arrange Open Days. Through this we can teach others about our religion and communities.”
Hon. Ms Inga Peliuch MLC & Ms Jo Silver
Cr Sandra Mayer, Mayor of Frankston City Council Mayor, said: “We are all privileged to be living in this beautiful country. Living in a country where everyone has the right of free speech and the right of agreeing or disagreeing on other’s opinions. Tolerance and respect should be part of our daily lives.”
Guest speakers from various religious organisations spoke about how their respective religions play a role in fostering the ties of sisterhood in the community through various spiritual and educational programs. All the guest speakers praised the exceptional efforts made by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in bringing people of all faiths and no faith at one platform.
Ms. Meryl Prentice, Member of Anglican Church Mornington, said: “ We are all on a continuous journey of knowing and that revolution is continuous. Worship gives you sense of belonging, forgiveness, support and love. There is a need of tolerating and accepting the Aboriginals cultures and communities. Young children have no trouble playing together because they see similarities and not the differences amongst each other so lets be like them. Live together happily.”
Ms. Jo Silver, Team Leader at the City of Greater Dandenong Council said: “We can and we need to make the world a better place and it can be achieved by improving the relationships of man and man, and man and God. We must challenge racism and hatred. We must never speak ill of others and finally if something is wrong we must say so!”
“Tolerance is the fundamental teaching of our religion and the example of that is coexistence in India. Also the fact that Hindus don’t try to change other’s views of religion and don’t rule over other’s land.”
Last guest speaker, Ms. Anita Carter, Spiritual Director and Abbot of the Buddhist Discussion Centre (Upwey) Ltd, said that Buddhism supports tolerance and respect, remove suffering from all human beings and differences among people should be respected.
Guests being interviewed by the ladies’ press and media team
The Interfaith Symposium concluded with a final note and silent prayers led by Ms. Kaukab Shafiq, President of Women’s Auxiliary AMA Victoria.
At the end of the conference, guests were served lunch followed by an opportunity to view a book exhibition on the Quran and other Islamic literature. Also on display for guests were stalls promoting henna decoration and bangles. All guests were presented with gifts and souvenirs with a message of Love for All Hatred for None printed on them.