Grand Mufti Iftar Speech

The Grand Mufti of Australia, Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohamed, was the keynote speaker at the Iftar Dinner hosted by the Uniting Church and the Affinity Intercultural Foundation at Parramatta Mission on 14 June. This is his speech. 

I start by expressing my gratitude and appreciation to my friends, the President of the Australian Uniting Church, Stuart McMillan, Reverend Michael Barnes and his team for their kind invitation,  Affinity, Jeremy Spinak President of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, Local Police, Local MP’s Community and Faith Leaders.

 It is an absolute pleasure to be with you all this evening, and to be able to build bridges of peace and understanding in our blessed multicultural country.

 Respected guests, I would also like to apologise for not being able to communicate effectively in the English language. But I would like to stress that my religion, Islam, has afforded me a heart that loves all creation of God and language will not limit my ability to convey that message.

 If we consider the human condition and all the pain and suffering around us today, we can highlight many challenges that stand out.  

 But one that stands out to all of us is the hijacking of religion to suit a warped ideology.

 History tells us that any religion that is hijacked by a deviant minority will stain it with their depravity. Islam and the rest of the world have now fallen victim to this evil and despite our advanced civilisation, we still see a wounded, bleeding society, weighed down by extremism and hatred with an insatiable hunger for destruction. It is heart wrenching that the result of this evil is the indiscriminate killing of innocent men, women and children under weak justifications.

 All the divine prophets have declared Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests. However we see a minority who over the ages have aimed to undermine our happiness and to force their madness upon the world.

 Islam, as we have learned and recognised in its divine essence is an institution of humanity, culture, civilisation, a safeguard for human intellect, freedom, and an upholder of those rights. It flows forth from a wholesome source, and is a paradigm of justice and equality. It serves to build this world and counter disease and poverty and everything that denies mankind their dignity.

 It favours peace over war, and security over violence and terrorism. It calls the mind to contemplate and ascend, and the heart to believe and be at peace.

 We have to maintain our belief that the power of the mind is more powerful than any weapon, and that our values can overcome any evil, and that our efforts for peace must be greater than extremism and hatred.

 God's Messenger (ﷺ) said, "Both in this world and in the Hereafter, I am the nearest of all people to Jesus, the son of Mary. The prophets are paternal brothers; their mothers are different, but their religion is one."

 The Quranic discourse about the human family emphasises the importance of building bridges of love amongst the followers of all religions and reiterates that they are in fact, brothers and sisters in origin. God, the Almighty, said in the Quran:

 ‘O mankind! Be obedient to your Lord, Who created you from a single person (Adam), and from him (Adam) He created his wife  (Eve), and from them both He created many men and women; and remain conscious of your Lord from Whom you demand your rights, and do not cut the relations of kinship. Surely, God is Ever and All Watching over you. (4:1)

 In this holy text, the Noble Quran binds all humanity together in the bonds of brotherhood and sisterhood, regardless of their religion. It asks all people to maintain kind relationships, if not for the sake of religion then it should be for the sake of humanity.

 In such a call to people, the Quran goes beyond the limits of history and geography, which have divided people. These divisions have created wars, where innocent blood has been shed.

 In the Holy Bible it says:

"Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4: 7-8

And:

"Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.” 1 John 4: 20

 Religions, in their pure form encourage a positive discourse, build bridges and promote tolerance.

 Ladies and Gentlemen: thank God that in spite of the hatred we encounter there are still Australians who have the ethos of love and awareness. Whose seeds were sown by all the prophets, especially by our beloved prophets, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad, peace be upon all of them. It is our duty now to maintain their positive messages and promote the common values of all religions.

 The Prophet Mohamad, peace be upon him said:

“You will not enter Paradise until you believe and you will not believe until you love each other. Shall I show you something that, if you did, you would love each other? Spread peace between yourselves.”  

 This is the message that has been communicated to us, so why do we deviate from the path?  

Love is the key to changing hearts, minds and entire societies. The message of our faiths is clear, in that to be in the service of others is the quickest route to spreading love. This is the duty of all Australians, to serve each other and promote love and harmony to continue to grow in our cultural richness. Let us make Australia the leading nation in promoting mutual love in the context of our multicultural landscape.

 We emphasise that terrorism and racism are two sides of the same coin. We must remain united in confronting these evils, and we must not let anything weaken our determination to protect Australia. I remind our leaders that Australia needs their positive discourse; a discourse that builds bridges rather than walls, and protects diversity.

 At this point, I would like to stress the importance of faith leaders coming together in the spirit of cooperation. I would like to thank every person who supports social cohesion, justice, love and mutual respect.

 We pray for peace to prevail across the world. May God protect Australia and all Australians, and may He purify us from the plagues of extremism, hatred, and racism. 

 May the peace and blessings of God be with you all.