On 9th April, Affinity Intercultural Foundation and the Smithfield Mosque held the Smithfield Mosque Open Day between 10 am and 2 pm. From Affinity, present were Ahmet Keskin, Omar Ouiek, Muhamed Cengic, Rifat Cakir, Adil Bayazitli and Musa Hodzic.
From the Bosnian community present were Bosnian community Mufti Shk Salih Mujala, Imam Jasmin Bekric, who was the organiser from the Bosnian community, Mr Osman Softic and the President of the Bosnian Islamic Society. There were also a few youths present but mainly the first generation Bosnian Australians.
They were curious on how this event would unfold. At the same time, they themselves have experienced something different for the first time in their life. Although, they have contributed greatly in helping out on the day, they were amazed that such an event could be organised by people younger than them.
There were 2 seminars and a traditional Bosnian lunch. The seminars covered the features of the mosque, make up of congregation and basic information on Islam.
During the first seminar, present were the Fairfield Police Chief Commander Ray King and another of his colleagues, Wetherill Park Police Ethnic Community Liaison Officer Uttara Khchao, Buddhist monk from Fairfield temple and mainly the first generation Bosnian Australians. A journalist from the local newspaper “Champion” was also present and the event was covered in the newspaper this week (19/04/06).
After that, we had the Noon prayer and a few verses were read out from the Holy Qur’an by Imam Jasmin Bekric. The guests witnessed the prayer in a very intimate fashion. They sat leaning on the side walls where the rows end. The Buddhist monk was taking pictures and was filming the prayer to what he said, “I’ve never experienced something like this. This is amazing.” We also had positive feedback from the police superintendent. Uttara Khchao said that he never knew that Islam was so beautiful and that these things should be done on a much wider scale. They hold conferences on various community issues within their network and said that he specifically wants to talk about the Smithfield Mosque Open Day. A question on apostasy was raised by the monk during the question time and he was satisfied by the answer.
The second seminar had about 20 non-Muslims. There was 1 family from the neighbourhood. They’ve also gave a positive feedback and some of them even attended our Panel on compassion. The neighbour said, “This was an eye-opener for me.” He also said that the people are starting to realise that the media is always trying to make Muslims look bad so they turn the people away from them.
All together, there were approximately 100 people of which were around 25 non-Muslims.
You may also want to read the Smithfield Open Day short article in the Champion local paper: