Ipswich Opening Ceremony
(A report by CCN's Flying Dutchman - standing in for our Man-on-the-Mussallaah who was otherwise distracted by the rare prospect of a South African victory at the Gabba)
Sunday the 15th of January 2006 will be remembered as a great milestone in Ipswich - it was the day in which the first Mosque opened in that city.
An estimated 700 people from all sections of the community turned up for the occasion.
Amar Ali Khan, the Vice President of the Islamic Society of Ipswich was MC for the day's programme which began with a recitation of the Holy Quran by Qari Mehboob Ul Haq, the Quranic teacher at Holland Park Masjid, which was then translated by Miss Hafsa Khan.
Imam Uzair Akbar, Imam of Holland Park Masjid talked on the role of the Mosque and Muslims in a locality and their obligations to their neighbours.
He spoke of the need for peace and the mutual respect for other religions.
Every Muslim should also take into consideration the effect the Mosque will have on the neighbourhood, which include the manner in which they drove their cars, how they parked them, the behaviour of the people at the Mosque and the noise levels in the early or late hours of the day.
Many misconceptions about Muslims were cleared up in the Imam’s talk, several of the dignitaries and guests were seen jotting down notes from his talk.
The Mayor of Ipswich, the Honourable Paul Pisasale was the next speaker.
He expressed his appreciation for the establishment of the Mosque in Ipswich and affirmed that Ipswich is a Multicultural city that not only warmly welcomed people of various ethnic and religious backgrounds but also encouraged it.
He then presented a Plaque to the President of the Islamic Society of Ipswich,
Jemele Deen, which commemorated the opening of the Mosque.
The next speaker was the Queensland Police Commissioner, Bob Atkins who reminded the audience that the Police see Muslims as law abiding citizens and that they did not accept the negative stereotypes portrayed in the media.
He reiterated the point that the Police Service was also there for Muslims as well.
He noted that he had attended many Islamic functions which also included the opening of the Darra Mosque, turning of the sod at the Rochedale Mosque and now the opening of the Ipswich Mosque.
The State Minister for Small Business, Information Technology Policy and Multicultural Affairs, the Honourable Chris Cummins followed with words of encouragement for the Mosque particularly since he was an “Ipswich boy”.
He drew on his experiences in living in Malaysia where people of various religions and ethnic backgrounds lived together.
He applauded the community involvement and understanding that the Ipswich Mosque has taken steps towards in ensuring that it is part of the community.
An inspiring speech was then given by Reverend Denis Scanlan, the Catholic Priest for Leichardt and North Ipswich. The Reverend was a very strong supporter of the establishment of the Mosque in Ipswich and began his speech with Allahu Akbar.
He emphasized that both Christianity and Islam are Abrahamic religions that believe in the One God. Both religions, he went on to say, have a great deal more in common then they do have differences, both are Peaceful and both suffer from extremism. Christians need the Muslims to remind them of their faith and could learn from Muslims about how to connect themselves with God. The very name Islam, meaning submission, and the commonly used term “Insha Allah” (God willing) were two examples of how Muslims went about achieving this connection.
Click here to read the full speech of the Reverend.
The Federal Member for Blair, Cameron Thompson spoke next. He expressed his delight in seeing a Mosque in Ipswich., and having a Mosque showed that Ipswich had come of age.
He was particularly pleased to see Muslims of diverse ethnicity and spoke of how a Mosque in Ipswich would be an attraction for other Muslims to the area.
He expressed that only good can come from this and that he looked forward to working with the Muslim community.
The last speaker was Mrs. Mia Leagh, Member of the Islamic Society of Ipswich, President of the Steering Committee of Believing for a Cultural Peace and Interfaith Women Organisation of Brisbane.
She gave a well researched speech about the examples of Islamic Civilization throughout history and the tolerance of other religions in Islam.
She highlighted the importance of Peaceful and Harmonic coexistence especially in this day and age.
The speeches were rounded off with a Naat by Saadiq Mustapha and a vote of thanks by Abdul Rahman Deen. All the speakers were presented with plaques by the President of the Islamic Society of Ipswich, Jemele Deen. The official function closed with an impassioned dua by Imam Yusuf Peer.
The ceremony was topped off with a BBQ.