Home Iftar Dinners 2016

Dates, arabian lantern and rosary. Islamic holidays concept. Ramadan decoration

The Home Iftars have been a growing tradition since its inception in 2006. This year was no exception for Affinity intercultural Foundation as 29 Australian-Muslim family homes across Sydney shared an iftar meal with members of the wider community including representatives from politics, public service, media, academia and various faith and community groups.

The Iftars provide a great opportunity for individuals to engage in first-hand cultural exchange that breaks down barriers and consequently sincere dialogue arising from the many commonalities. Feedback since the inception of the concept has proven that such engagement not only facilitates mutual respect and understanding between Muslims and the broader community but also enhances the Muslim community’s sense of belonging and hence its contribution to Australian society.

Affinity’s Executive Director, mentioned that the demand for participation in a Home Iftar and the limited number of days each year in Ramadan has prompted Affinity to look into the possibility of extending the concept beyond Ramadan. He said, “We are very pleased to see how much this initiative has grown and hope that it continues to do so…”

“It was a pleasure to host such wonderful people and be part of the lovely environment” – FatmaAksu

Every year, Affinity reaches out to Muslim families asking if they would like to host those who aren’t Muslim in their homes for an iftar dinner during Ramadan. Yet again, the Muslim community exceeded our expectations and we were fortunate to find 29 families across Sydney and the Illwarra who were delighted to open their homes.

“I love you because of your service and contribution to the community. I love your community because of its service and contribution to Australia.”  – Hon. John Ajaka, MLC

Participants’ feedback has indicated that these dinners not only facilitate understanding of the Islamic faith, but also enhance the Muslim community’s sense of belonging in Australian society.

“Well done Affinity! Thank you for the generous hospitality shown to many. It is very much appreciated. God bless you and all your host families at Eid and throughout the coming year.” – Patrick McInerney

 

Photos from the Home Iftar Dinners

Home Iftar Dinner – 29/07/2015

Once again this year Affinity Intercultural Foundation took great pleasure in arranging home iftars in varies parts of Sydney. Friends of Affinity Intercultural Foundation from all walks of live joined together on an Iftar – ‘breaking of the fast’ dinner – at the private residence of a Muslim family.

Affinity has been augmenting its significant contribution to social harmony through its Home Iftar Dinners initiative, which has now been running for several years. These Iftars, held during the month of Ramadan, are a great opportunity for individuals to engage in first-hand cultural exchange and consequent dialogue arising from the many commonalities. The feedback we have received from previous participants confirms that such engagement not only facilitates understanding of the Islamic faith and the Muslim culture but also enhances the Muslim community’s sense of belonging and consequently its contribution to Australian society.

As Affinity Intercultural Foundation, we had the chance to arrange a dozen or two several dates with Muslim families who were excited about the opportunity to host Home Iftar in their homes. In the past as well as this year, Muslim families have hosted both federal and state politicians, public servants, media representatives, academics, think tank representatives, community and religious leaders.

We hope those who attend Affinity Home Iftar 2015 had a wonderful experience. As Affinity Intercultural Foundation we would like to thank all of the friends/guest who attended home iftar this year and of course give a special thanks to our Muslim families who opened their homes to host an home iftar.

Luke Aquinas FOLEY, MP

“It was an absolute pleasure to be invited into the home of Bulent and to meet with his family and members of Affinity, who are doing such great work in the community.”

“There is no better way to understand the importance of working together then when you are breaking bread in someone’s home.”

Luke Aquinas FOLEY, MPLeader of the Opposition, Shadow Minister for the Arts, Shadow Minister for Racing, and Shadow Minister for Western Sydney
Linda Smith

“I just wanted to thank you sincerely for organising the wonderful iftar on Sunday night.”

“We were shown such wonderful hospitality and thoroughly enjoyed meeting yourself and our very generous host family.”

Linda SmithEditor, That’s Life! magazine
Janine Perrett

“Many thanks for organising a lovely Iftar dinner on Sunday night. I enjoyed it immensely and would ask you to pass on our warmest appreciation to the whole family who were all involved in welcoming us into their home and providing such fabulous food and hospitality.”

Janine PerrettSky News
Associate Professor Rodger Shanahan

“I just wanted to thank you for the hospitality of you and your family in hosting all of us for the Iftar dinner this week. The food was lovely and the company and conversation stimulating. It was much appreciated.”

Associate Professor Rodger ShanahanResearch Fellow at the Lowy Institute
Darren Goodsir

“Thank you very much for your kindness and hospitality last night, and for the wonderful dinner and deserts … My team, and I, were very fortunate to have been able to share this experience in the privacy of your family home.

We felt very welcome, and privileged, and I wanted to pass on my gratitude and best wishes, on behalf of the Herald, to you and your lovely family, and friends.”

Darren GoodsirEditor-in-Chief of The Sydney Morning Herald
David Bennett

“Thank you very much for organizing the iftar dinner at home of Bulent & Senay Yildiz on Tuesday.
The food was delicious, the company was fascinating and the atmosphere was brilliant.
Affinity did a wonderful job.
With warm good wishes”

David BennettAustralian barrister and former Solicitor-General of Australia
Highlights from this years Home Iftar:
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Home Iftar Dinner 2015

Affinity Intercultural Foundation takes great pleasure in extending an invitation to you and your spouse/ friend to join us for an Iftar – ‘breaking of the fast’ dinner – at the private residence of a Muslim family.

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Affinity has been augmenting its significant contribution to social harmony through its Home Iftar Dinners initiative, which has now been running for several years. These Iftars, held during the month of Ramadan, are a great opportunity for individuals to engage in first-hand cultural exchange and consequent dialogue arising from the many commonalities. The feedback we have received from previous participants confirms that such engagement not only facilitates understanding of the Islamic faith and the Muslim culture but also enhances the Muslim community’s sense of belonging and consequently its contribution to Australian society.

We warmly invite you to be a part of this special community initiative. We have arranged several dates with Muslim families who are excited about the opportunity to host you in their homes. In the past Muslim families have hosted both federal and state politicians, public servants, media representatives, academics, think tank representatives, community and religious leaders.

iftar-sofrası_470784

Ramadan this year commences on 18 June and concludes on 16 July. The dates we have arranged to host you and your spouse/friend are found on the registration form page.

NOTE : Iftars held during a weeknight commences at 6:30pm and 5:00pm on weekends.

Upon completing the registration form, we will reply back to you advising which Muslim family will be hosting you, including their home address and other details.

We hope you will be able to partake in this event and celebrate diversity with us. We look forward to seeing you at one of these home iftar dinners.

Few highlights from pervious years…

SBS News 2014 – Turkish Ramadan feast brings faiths together in Sydney

SBS News 2011- Breaking Bread Together

SBS News 2011 – Australians Celebrate Eid

 

HOME IFTARS 2014

The Home Iftars have been a growing tradition since its inception in 2006. This year was no exception for Affinity intercultural Foundation as 25 Australian-Muslim family homes across Sydney shared an iftar meal with members of the wider community including representatives from politics, public service, media, academia and various faith and community groups.

The cosy atmosphere of a home coupled with exquisite home-made cuisine, leads to sincere, fruitful dialogue between individuals. This engagement helps break down barriers and allows participants to “feel richer for the experience”. It also allows for the hosts to gain deeper knowledge of their guests’ roles in society and/or in their workforce, which leads to greater appreciation of the work that they do. This friendly transaction sows the seed for greater awareness and understanding within the community. Many times in these home iftars did our guests and hosts state that these opportunities to meet new people should continue and that Ramadan is a great time for this opportunity.

For Affinity the home iftar dinner concept is a two-transaction. We receive great compliments from the hosts and the guests as it allows for each to peek into the lives of another to find there are so many commonalities that bind us. This is a common feedback we receive from both parties.

Affinity is looking to continue this tradition for next year, hoping to increase the participation and allow new people to be introduced to this concept. We would like to thank the community for their accepting the offer and placing their trust in us and the host family’s generosity.

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Home Iftar Dinners – 2012

This year’s Ramadan period saw an unprecedented number of guests attend an Affinity arranged home iftar.

The home iftar concept, a Muslim community initiative pioneered by Affinity in 2006, allows for closer interaction between the Muslim and non-Muslim members of our society. During Ramadan 2012, Affinity hosted more than 90 people in 19 home iftars. Participants included politicians, media personalities, faith leaders, community leaders, academics, councillors, other government officials and businessmen/women.

The cosy atmosphere of a home coupled with exquisite home-made cuisine, leads to sincere, fruitful dialogue between individuals. This engagement helps break down barriers and allows participants to “feel richer for the experience”. It also allows for the hosts to gain deeper knowledge of their guests’ roles in society and/or in their workforce, which leads to greater appreciation of the work that they do. This friendly transaction sows the seed for greater awareness and understanding within the community. Many times in these home iftars did our guests and hosts state that these opportunities to meet new people should continue and that Ramadan is a great time for this facilitation.

Below you will find an article written by one of the participants to provide their perspective of the gathering, followed by some testimonials:

RAMADAN IFTAR DINNERS IN SYDNEY 2012 PROVE POPULAR WITH NON-MUSLIM COMMUNITY

The Muslim community in Sydney has received positive media publicity for hosting a series of Iftar dinners during the 2012 Ramadan, in which people from non-Muslim backgrounds were invited to participate.

Affinity Intercultural Foundation, which is supported by the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship, used the opportunity of the Iftar dinners to build bridges with non-Muslim communities by inviting them to join in the traditional feasts, to share the cultural experience and learn more about Islam, different traditions, people and issues.

One high profile dinner recently held at the western Sydney home of businessman, Erhan Bozkurt, was attended by leader of the Opposition in the NSW State Parliament, John Robertson; Australian Race Discrimination Commissioner, Dr Helen Szoke; Vice President of the Jewish Board of Deputies, Jeremy Spinak and his colleague NGO Relations Manager, Lynda Ben-Menashe; Uniting Church Moderator, Rev Dr Brian Brown and his wife Helen and numerous members of the Turkish community.

The evening concluded with a frank exchange of ideas from all participants about how the Muslim community could continue to build constructive and positive cross-cultural relationships.

The gathering also heard from Zuleyha Keskin,Vice President of Islamic Sciences & Research Academy (ISRA) about progress with Australia’s first university degree programme in Islamic studies.  The full degree course is being offered in conjunction with Charles Sturt University, with the first graduates due later this year.  This may lead to Australia’s first home grown Imams down the track.

The host for the evening, Executive Director Ahmet Keskin, said the concept for the Iftar community dinners during Ramadan had developed and grown successfully over a number of years. He said this year there were 19 home iftars over a 30 day period with some 90 guests from diverse background attending a home iftar.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, who attended one of the dinners, said she was very impressed with the educational experience and the generosity of the hosts.

TESTIMONIALS

“The dinner on Monday was wonderful – I am indebted to Affinity and my hosts! The meal was fabulous and for the first time in my life had the dishes and accompaniments explained. It was also incredibly interesting to listen to conversation between a Jew and a Muslim about culinary traditions, rules and reasons. How enlightening! I posted the photo we took to commemorate the evening and received a large number of ‘likes’ and comments like ‘I wish we could do this in regional NSW too!’ And ‘This should be happening all over Australia!”

CC – NSW Parliament Legislative Council

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“We found it to be a most meaningful evening. Not only was the food superb – as I said, it took me back to my childhood days – but the way you structured the evening, with the focused discussion afterwards, made it very worthwhile. We felt totally at home… We look forward to more such great evenings – breaking down barriers and building bridges.”

VA and NA – NSW Jewish Board of Deputies

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“Thank you so much for opening your home to all and sundry for an Iftar dinner.  I very much enjoyed the evening, especially the excellent food and equally rich conversation.  It is no small thing to make a diverse group of people comfortable and I really appreciate the effort behind the scenes and your graciousness… I have seldom met a group that was so intentional in its building of bridges and I feel honored to be able to participate in that process, even if in a small way.”

TLH – Temple University, USA

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“It was a pleasure to be feted in such a beautiful home and with such esteemed guests.”

JS – NSW Jewish Board of Deputies

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“The initiative taken by the Affinity Intercultural Foundation to host Ramadan Iftar dinners for non-Muslims in homes of Muslim families, needs to be applauded as it builds bridges between our communities and contributes to better understanding of our cultural and religious diversity.”

SO – University of Western Sydney

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“My family enjoyed it very much and we left feeling richer for the experience.”

DL – Fairfax Media

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“…The grass roots engagement of community leaders such as through the Iftar dinners are a unique and memorable outreach that requires investment not only by the participating families but equally by the invited community leaders. I look forward to supporting the Affinity Intercultural Foundation in years ahead.”

SM – Sydney City Council

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