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.

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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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Glimpses of Turkey

 

Affinity will be hosting study tour alumni from past years, and those who are interested in the tours, to a “Glimpse of Turkey Night” reunion.

This will be an opportunity to look back and remember the highlights from the trip you attended and to catch up with those whom you travelled with, also meeting other groups and hearing their experiences and tales of Turkey.

The details of the reunion are below.

     Date : Thursday, 3rd of April 2014

     Time : 5:30pm for a 6:00pm start
     (Light refreshments will be served)

     Venue : Affinity Intercultural Foundation

Suite 502, Level 5

51 – 57 Pitt St

Sydney NSW 2000

     RSVP : registrations@affinity.org.au

I hope that you can make it and add to the stories, reflections and conversation.

Looking forward to hosting you.

 

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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Cultural Cooking Classes – Afghan Cuisine

Affinity Cultural Cooking Classes delight the tastebuds with Afghan Cuisine.

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In May, Affinity Intercultural Foundation hosted its inaugural cultural cooking class in conjunction with St. Kieran’s Church, Manly Vale. Showcasing Afghanistan was the theme of the night by presenting its rich tradition, intriguing culture and exotic food.

The program was launched with a short introduction into the exquisite Afghan culture, particularly highlighting the vast array of Afghan dishes, from the ‘basic’ rice and curry to the challenging mantus and oshaks. Mantus are small dumplings filled with minced meat and served with chickpea curry and garlic yoghurt drizzled on top. Oshaks are the vegetarian equivalents that contain leeks, shallots and spinach instead of mince.

A cooking station was set up, intending to guide those who wanted to learn the secrets of Afghan cooking. Nasrine, a proficient Afghan chef and mother of four, demonstrated the filling, folding and completion of the perfect mantu and oshak. It looked easy until we attempted it ourselves! Thankfully, after a few broken mantus and oshaks, we managed to become worthy apprentices to Nasrine!

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As the mantus and oshaks continued to be filled, the infusion of fresh spices permeated the room, teasing the already grumbling stomachs. And then finally, the main event arrived: Dinner. The mixture of superb food and great conversation gave birth to a wonderful evening between friends with different ethnic backgrounds, faiths and stories.

As dessert, a sweet Afghan dish known as Gilabee, was being served, a historic Afghan poem was read in Farsi (Persian) by Bilal Waheed. The soothing poetry resonated with the audience, touching the hearts of many.

The program came to an end with a vote of thanks by Kate Shaw. Not only did everyone learn useful tips for the kitchen but they were also invited into the Afghan world, immersing themselves in its culture, outfits and food. The night truly turned out to be a recipe for the fusion of hearts…

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