Dr amanda wise & dr jan ali commonwealth of Australia 2008

Initiative Title: Formal & Private Home Iftar Dinners

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Initiative Title: Formal & Private Home Iftar Dinners

Organised by: Australian Intercultural Society

Contact Details: Level 1, 728 Mt. Alexander Rd, Moonee Ponds, Vic 3039
Ph: 03 9326 2177
Email: info@intercultural.org.au

Funded by: Self-funded through donations by businesses and individuals

Time period of the initiative: Annual. This year from 13 September to 11 October 2007

Number of participants involved: 400+

Target Group: General public, VIPs, Victorian Police, Faith and Community Leaders.

Project Description: Each year during the holy period of Ramadan, the AIS organizes formal and private Iftar dinners for people of different faiths and cultures at designated venues and at the private homes of Muslims. This unique project enables people of all faiths and cultures to socialise and learn about each other's customs in a warm friendly atmosphere. This gives guests an opportunity to share in the experiences of a Muslim family and allows them to share with the Muslim family of their own experiences

The AIS also believes that bringing members of Parliament, Officers of the Victorian police, faith and community leaders and members of the Muslim community together for a Ramadan Iftar dinner is an excellent opportunity to enhance existing relationships and create new ones, encourage interfaith dialogue and promote a greater understanding of Islam in the wider community. The AIS partnered with various organisations during this Ramadan to help bridge the gap between Muslims and the wider community. Such gatherings help Muslims overcome the isolation they feel and help the wider community to overcome the prejudice and misunderstanding that occurs. These events are very social and interactive occasions that allow all participants to interact and learn from the personal experience of talking with one another.

Successes and challenges: People travelled from across Melbourne with people from all different faith and cultural backgrounds. Some people also came in from regional Victoria for a chance to meet with Muslims for the first time. The large turn out at the public home Iftar dinner indicated that the event was a huge success.

What evaluation (if any) was conducted: Feedback mechanisms in place indicated a positive response from most participants. Some of the feedback included: ‘I felt deeply honoured that strangers would extend me such easy hospitality and explain their life and beliefs to me. I went away with a great sense of peace.’ ‘We feel such gatherings give us a greater understanding of the persons participating, the culture and religion and help to build bridges. We were overwhelmed with the generosity of our hosts.’

Initiative Title: Building Positive Relations between the Muslim Community and Queensland Police Service

Organised by: Al-Nisa's Youth Group

Contact Details: Nazrana Noor Mohamed
PO Box 1586, Sunnybank Hills, QLD 4109
Ph: 0421 890 838
Email: thesecretary@alnisagroup.com.au

Funded by: Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) Time period of the initiative: September 2007 - Present Number of participants involved: 25-35

Target Group: Muslim community and senior women staff of Queensland Police Service

Project Description: Al-Nisa was established in July 2005 to act as an advocacy body and to provide young Muslim women in Queensland with support and opportunities to express themselves. This particular project aims to:

  • provide information on and facilitate understanding of Muslim-Australian communities to the QPS, specifically senior Police women;

  • develop resources and strategies that the QPS, and in particular senior Police women can incorporate into police education and training;

  • develop strategies to create and improve positive relationships between the QPS

  • and the Muslim-Australian communities; and

  • identify communication procedures that provide effective management of relationships between senior women in the QPS and the Muslim-Australian communities.

The project is run in partnership with the Queensland Police Senior Women’s Syndicate and the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.

Successes and challenges: The project is helping to bridge the divide between the Muslim community and regulatory bodies such as Queensland Police Service. Through the reach-out program to link young Muslim women with senior women staff of QPS, both parties have come to a better understanding of each other, ensuring a better functional relationship as well as closer ties in cooperating with each in the future. One of the primary challenges was overcoming the negative stereotypical image of Muslim women and the project has helped substantially in breaking down these barriers.

What evaluation (if any) was conducted: Direct feedback at events indicated overwhelming support from participants.

Initiative Title: Young Australian Muslim of the Year Project and Award

Organised by: Islamic Council of Victoria

Contact Details: Bahriye Bol, Islamic Council of Victoria, 66 Jeffcott St, West Melbourne
Ph: 03 93282067/0404153653
Email: bahriye.bol@icv.org.au

Funded by: Department of Immigration and Citizenship

Time period of the initiative: 2005-Present Number of participants involved: 700+ Target Group: Young Muslims aged 14 -19.

Project Description: The Young Australian Muslim of the Year Project and Award aims to recognise the positive contribution of Year 9 to Year 12 students of Islamic faith to the Australian community.

The Young Australian Muslim of the Year (YAMY) project supports the development of positive role models for Muslim Youth and recognises and celebrates existing role models. This project will also highlight the importance of contributing to the Australian community through personal achievement and community service. The award is unique in that it places the emphasis on the individual’s ability to contribute their skills, talent and time to the community, as opposed to recognising the individual for their skill or talent only.

The YAMY award was initiated in 2005 by Muslim Community Cooperative Australia (MCCA) to facilitate the development of community mindedness in young Australian Muslims and to provide an opportunity to recognise the philanthropic and altruistic efforts of many young Muslims. During this time, 38 young Australian Muslims were recognised for Outstanding Community Service Achievements through the YAMY awards and over 700 young people have been involved in youth conferences, training workshops across Melbourne and Sydney.

Successes and challenges: The YAMY award and project provided young Muslims around the country, opportunities for contribution to the nation and increased awareness of such opportunities and needs. Through the project, hundreds of young Muslims who have been involved have come to realise the importance of unselfish contribution towards society. Furthemore, such contribution to the community has built resiliency and a sense of belonging among young the Muslims who have taken part. The conferences organised during the project were also used to motivate young people to align their strengths with community services related activities. Finally, the YAMY award has also contributed to bringing about a positive change about the perception of Muslim youth as an integral part of the wider Australian society.

What evaluation (if any) was conducted: N.A

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