Thursday, 28 August 2008
Moreton Electorate: Holland Park Mosque
Holland Park Mosque on Brisbane’s south side will celebrate its centenary this weekend. I am pleased to recognise this significant event in the life of Queensland’s Muslim community. Holland Park is the oldest mosque in Queensland, and over the last 100 years the Muslim community has grown to become a vitalised part of Brisbane’s multicultural mix, particularly in my electorate of Moreton on Brisbane’s south side. From its modest beginnings as a wooden shack which opened back in 1908, the mosque has been transformed into the modern Brisbane landmark it is today.
But, of course, the mosque represents much more than just bricks and mortar. It is a community of friends, people of faith and people who aspire for a better world. Over those 100 years, Brisbane’s Muslim community has grown from about 20 people in 1908 to more than 20,000 in 2008. The mosque provides the focal point for social activities and is a place of worship and education. Despite some testing times, such as the fire-bombing of the mosque which took place in the weeks following the September 11 attacks, the Muslim community has remained committed to racial and religious harmony.
The leaders of the Islamic community have done much to foster great respect and understanding between Muslims and non-Muslims. I particularly want to recognise Mustafa Ally, who has compiled and published a comprehensive 100-year history of the Holland Park Mosque and the people who have helped shape it. Here is an example. It is available online. It is a wonderful document with forewords by the member for Griffith, the Hon Kevin Rudd MP, Prime Minister of Australia, and also by the new governor of Queensland, Ms Penelope Wensley. Obviously the former governor of Queensland is coming to another job here in Canberra.
Mustafa Ally is a dedicated community leader who was this year named Multicultural Citizen of the Year at the 2008 Australia Day Awards. Of course, the Holland Park Mosque centenary coincides with a very significant time of year on the Muslim calendar. Next week will see the start of the holy month of Ramadan. I wish all Muslims in Queensland and beyond, but particularly those in my electorate of Moreton, the very best during this 30-day period of fasting and prayer. As well as being a time of personal reflection, I recognise that, as a community, Muslims will also take time during Ramadan to focus on the needs of others, especially those facing hardship around the world. That is a particular tenet of the Muslim faith that is very commendable.
The right to religious freedom is a great strength of Australian society and one that we must all protect. I have said it before and I will continue to say it in this place: I am proud of the diversity and strength of Brisbane’s multicultural communities, but we must all work to promote tolerance, understanding and mutual respect. I see the Courier Mail had a rather lengthy article about the centenary. I particularly want to mention Mr Gaffer Deen, one of the famous Deen brothers who have strong connections with the Liberal Party but who also work tirelessly for the community and have become good friends of mine.
I will take that interjection. He obviously works hard for the community—irrespective of the political party that he is connected with. I wish all the people at the Holland Park Mosque well. I look forward to being there on Saturday.