The Race Discrimination Commissioner Chin Tan has told an Iftar Dinner that the Ramadan tradition of charity and the Muslim tradition of service to community is something which we should all emulate and aspire to.
The Iftar Dinner in Melbourne was hosted by the Islamic Council of Victoria and RMIT.
Commissioner Tan said the spirit of Ramadan, with its traditions of self-reflection, of gratitude, forgiveness, respect, understanding, sharing and of charity, is one of the many beautiful faces of modern Australia.
“These are traditions that challenge us as individuals to be better versions of ourselves and, as a community, to be more compassionate towards our neighbours.
Commissioner Tan reflected on the past 12 months and the work ahead.
“In the last year we have sadly witnessed incidents and events that seem designed to sow fear and distrust in sections of our community.
“We have been exposed to far too many divisive speeches and public rhetoric which seek to tear into the fabric of our cohesive and inclusive society.
“We have shared and felt the grief of innocent victims who have suffered at the evil hands of terrorists in places that should have been sanctuaries of piety, safety and contemplation.
“But, out of these desponding and distressing incidents and moments we have witnessed the emergence of seeds of important, nation building conversations.
“Conversations about who we are as a country, what values we hold dear and what we want a future Australia to be and to look like.
“Conversations about our personal and collective human rights – our right to safely practice our religions, our right to freedom of speech, our rights to equal opportunities and equal protection under law regardless of our backgrounds.
“I have been heartened to see the majority of Australians speak out to defend human rights and equality and to show strong support for their fellow Muslim-Australians,” Commissioner Tan said.
On Harmony Day earlier this year, the Australian Human Rights Commission announced a series of consultations with Muslim-Australian communities across the country about their experiences and concerns of hate speech, intolerance and violence.
The conversations are an opportunity to ensure that the voices of Muslim-Australian communities are centred in national discussions about Islamophobia, racism and related intolerances in Australia.
Commissioner Tan said he’s confident these conversations will lead to the identification of ideas on how to support and empower Muslim-Australian communities.
“Our shared task and responsibility is to unite our community as a society that is culturally diverse, open, accepting, socially cohesive and inclusive and one that values equity, equality, fairness and equal justice and opportunities for all Australians.
“Ramadan Mubarak,” Commissioner Tan said.
Photo Credit: RMIT