Friendship & Dialogue Iftar Dinner – 29/07/2015

Highlights of the evening

Full Program

The Hon. John Ajaka MLC – Minister for Multicultural : Co-host Welcome Speech

The Hon. Sophie Cotsis MLC – Shadow Minister for Multicultural : Co-host Welcome Speech

Ahmet Polat – Executive Director of Affinity Intercultural Foundation : Co-host Welcome Speech

Qur’an Recitation by Ibrahim Karaisli

Tim Wilson – Australia’s Human Rights Commissioner : Keynote Address

Sufi Whirling Dervish – Naqshbandiyya Nazimiyya Sufi Order

The Hon Justice Joanne Harrison – Supreme Court of NSW : Floor Reflection #1

Jim Longly – Deputy Secretary of Ageing, Disability & Home Care : Floor Reflection #2

Ms Maha Abdo OAM – Executive Officer of Muslim Women’s Association : Floor Reflection #3

Judith Whelan – Deputy Editor, Sydney Morning Herald & Fairfax : Floor Reflection #4

Dr Gorur Krishna (Harry) Harinath OAM – Chair of Multicultural NSW : Vote of Thanks

AF&D Friendship & Dialogue Dinner 2015 IFLC

AF&D 2015 Gifts & Closing Speech


Highlights from the night :

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Diversity Iftar Dinner – 03/07/2015

Charles Sturt University (Port Macquarie) & Affinity Intercultural Foundation gathered for the third time on a dinner table on 3rd of July 2015. This wonderful event takes place every Ramadan for the past three years since 2013.

Members from various walks of life gathered to celebrate the breaking of the fast (Iftar) with Muslim friends from Affinity Intercultural Foundation as well as colleagues & muslim students that are on campus.

Ahmet Polat (Executive Director of Affinity) and Professor Heather Cavanagh (Head of CSU at Port Macquarie) were the co-hosts for the evening and extended their warm welcomes to the guests after the breaking of the fast.

In his welcome speech Ahmet Polat emphasized the importance of sharing a meal and breaking bread together during the dinner. –

“Each year we see the Muslim community open their hearts and their homes to the general public, as they invite friends from all walks of their life to be around the dinner table,” he said.

Current CSU head of campus Professor Heather Cavanagh said she has heard “a lot” about previous dinners, and was “looking forward to an exciting and engaging evening” at Sails Resort.

Assoc. Prof Mehmet Ozalp delivered the keynote address for the program. In his speech Mr. Ozalp stressed the importance of diversity & in what ways could embrace diversity.

After dinner the guest were offered baklava & kadayif for dessert while floor reflections from various guests taken. The program came to a close with a vote of thanks by Mehmet Saral (Affinity Advisory Board member).

Highlights from the night :

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Charles Sturt University & the Affinity Intercultural Foundation Iftar Dinner

Members of the Port Macquarie community gathered for an Iftar dinner, hosted by Charles Sturt University and the Affinity Intercultural Foundation, to mark the Islamic month of Ramadhan. It was an opportunity for sharing at the 2014 Diversity and Dialogue Iftar dinner.

This was the 2nd such iftar dinner held in the Port Macquarie area and it was great to see new faces be amongst the attendees for this momentous event. Community leaders from across the Hastings and representatives from many faiths enjoyed a meal at Sails Resort. The Federal MP Dr David Gillespie and Port Macquarie Mayor Peter Besseling (former Wallaby) were also in attendance.

Dr Gillespie mentioned that although areas such as the Port Macquarie are relatively homogenous there is an increasing presence of new community members arriving and settling in the area. He remarked “This just adds to the area’s ever changing landscape, where people who have come from other parts of the world are now here to make this community and this country grow”. Mayor Besseling talked about his family roots and how his forefathers came to Australia to seek new opportunities. He also commented on his professional rugby career and how he chose to go to a place like Japan just to experience a different culture and that he was enriched by the time spent there.

Affinity’s executive director Mr Ahmet Keskin said it was a significant time of the year for the Muslim community. “It’s a time for reflection and sharing. Each year we see the Muslim community open their hearts and their homes to the general public, as they invite friends from all walks of their life to be around the dinner table.” Port Macquarie campus director Dr Muyesser Durur said the University was very happy to have the opportunity, in conjunction with the foundation, to host the dinner. “Part of the University’s role on the Mid North Coast is to encourage and support the sharing of ideas and ideals within and among the community,” she said.

For more information and for some photos, please refer to the article here

Diocese of Broken Bay & Affinity Iftar Dinner

Since its inception, the Iftar Dinner with the Catholic Diocese of Broken Bay (DBB) in partnership with Affinity Intercultural Foundation has grown, welcoming guests from Affinity, the Diocese and the Hills District Muslim Society over a series of years now.

This year’s theme “Scared Hospitality” could be seen in the dialogue, conversations and connections throughout the evening, as Father Vince Casey welcomed all followed by the Adhan (Muslim call to prayer) and breaking of the fast – Iftar dinner.

After being treated to some exotic Afghan cuisine, guests listened to the recitation of a short passage from the Holy Qur’an.

Afterwards, the panel session on the evening’s theme “Scared hospitality” began with Dr Trish Madigan presenting the Christian perspective and Mr Mohamed Baqai the Muslim perspective. There were many common threads on the very topic of hospitality as each tradition focussed on more than just being hospitable around a dinner table and looked deeper into the core being of our existence. Both speakers highlighted the many gifts and bounties placed on this earth, not so it could be consumed by one race or community but rather to be shared amongst all inhabitants, irrespective if they’re human or not. Both touched on Abraham’s hospitality and each gave examples of how Jesus and Muhammed (Peace Be Upon Them) exemplified the spirit of sharing with their fellow humans.

The two perspectives were welcomed and echoed by the attendees as Affinity’s Executive Director, Mr Ahmet Keskin, offered a vote of thanks to everyone involved in setting up the program and highlighted the need and importance of such events.

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