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Wednesday, 20 November 2013
Page: 937

Mr BYRNE (Holt) (10:01): I would like to pay tribute this morning to Mr Noorullah Noori, who sadly passed away on 14 September this year. Mr Noori arrived with his family from Kandahar, Afghanistan, in 1987. On settling in Australia, Mr Noori set upon a path that would see him devote his entire life to helping others in the community. The extraordinary contribution to our local community that Mr Noori has made cannot be understated.

Mr Noori established the Afghan Community Mosque, later known as the Omar Farooq Mosque. He served as the imam and was a respected and esteemed leader. Mr Noori was present at the most significant times in the lives of his community members. He presided over marriage ceremonies and newborn ceremonies, he provided counselling for families and couples and he made visits offering compassion and support to those nearing the end of their lives. Mr Noori also helped many in our community adjust to a new life in Australia. He provided advice, support and encouragement to countless families and eased their settlement into the community.

Mr Noori's work was not confined to the Afghan community. Through his work at the mosque he supported Muslims from many different backgrounds. And within the wider community he assisted people regardless of their race, colour or creed. Perhaps Mr Noori's most significant contribution, however, was his work with young people. As imam, Mr Noori educated the younger generation on all aspects of their faith as well as emphasising the importance of living as law-abiding citizens and responsible members of the community. Over the years, Mr Noori inspired and encouraged many young people to achieve their goals.

Mr Noori loved Australia. I am told this by many members of the Afghan community. He was fiercely loyal to his adopted country and used every opportunity to remind members of his community of how important it was to live honestly and peacefully. I know it is the hope of the Afghan community that a new generation of leaders will now follow in his footsteps.

Mr Noori was a humble man. He never sought any recognition for his work. Everything he did was voluntary. When he was offered a wage, he refused, saying the money should go towards the work of the mosque and to help those that needed it. You will not see his name in lists of awards or accolades. He actively avoided this sort of recognition. What you do see and hear, however, is the words of warmth and affection with which he is remembered by the community.

Over 4,000 people attended Mr Noori's funeral. A message posted by the Afghan embassy to Mr Noori's family on the day said of his passing:

We share your grievance in this tragic occasion. You are not alone, the entire Afghan Community has lost its spiritual father today .

That is a sentiment which I know is shared by many. On behalf of the constituents of Holt, on behalf of all here present in the chamber and on behalf of the Afghan community in Australia, I would like to thank Mr Noori for the thousands of people he has helped and supported over the years in his extraordinary career and life.