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Wednesday, 17 September 2008
Page: 7792

Ms REA (9:34 AM) —This morning I would like to address the House on the centenary of the Holland Park Mosque. I was very privileged a few weeks ago to attend the centenary celebrations for the mosque, which is located on Nursery Road at Mount Gravatt. It is a significant achievement for any organisation by Australian standards: 100 years is a long time within the Australian community. But for a mosque in the suburbs of Brisbane to be celebrating its centenary I think marks a very important part of Australia’s history, which I wish to recognise.

1908 was a very interesting year for the Islamic community in Australia. In those days the vast majority of Muslims came from Afghanistan and the subcontinent of India. They had been camel traders in the late 1800s. It was the travels of those people, particularly through Brisbane, that saw a number of families become established in the Mount Gravatt and Holland Park area. They felt the need to create a place of worship and identified the house that was located on Nursery Road, Mount Gravatt, as the mosque.

As you can well imagine, in those days establishing a place of worship—the pure hard physical labour of getting something organised, getting a small community together to create a place where people could gather—was difficult enough. But, in the context of the White Australia policy and the very unfortunate attitudes of the Australian community at that time towards people who were non-white and therefore perceived as being inferior, it is a great tribute to those families that they were able to do what they did. In particular, I would like to acknowledge Abdul Ghias Kaus, Abdul Futta ‘Fotth’ Deen and Abdul Hamid Howsan—three men who were on the original committee and whose commitment and drive made sure that the mosque not only was established in that part of Brisbane but indeed has remained there for 100 years, and I hope it will remain there for much longer.

The Islamic community in that area is a very strong and diverse community. We now see many Muslims coming to Australia from all parts of the world, the latest being those from the Horn of Africa countries—in particular, Somalia. The mosque is a very recognised part of the Mount Gravatt and Holland Park communities. It is high up on the hill, it is visible from the South East Freeway, it is a very clear identifying marker of that part of Brisbane and, as a result, it is something that all of the community in that area acknowledge as being part of their local area. Indeed, the broader community know the mosque has always been a part of that area. I know that they fully support the Islamic community and wish them well in their centenary and for their future in the suburbs of Brisbane.