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Tuesday, 22 March 2011
Page: 2771


Mr RUDDOCK (10:20 PM) —I commend the member for Banks on his very gracious speech about his colleague and, in the spirit of the occasion, I will add no further remarks. I take this opportunity to remind the House that, on 23 February 2009, I spoke about the nature of our multicultural society and commended particularly the Australian Chinese Charity Foundation on its work in raising over $343,000, given to the Australian Red Cross, to help those who had suffered as a result of the Victorian bushfires. As I reflected on that occasion, this, I thought, was an admirable demonstration of the commitment that people, regardless of their country of origin, having settled in Australia, would make.

More recently, I had the opportunity to attend another function. This time, it was in the electorate of Mitchell but organised by a constituent of mine. The constituent, Mr Abbas Aly, is a significant businessman in the Norwest Business Park, running a firm called Triforce. He was the inspiration for holding this function, which, along with Hornsby Shire Council, which became the recipient of the funds, served to ensure that the victims of floods in Queensland would benefit. This function was supported by the community of the Imam Hasan Centre at Annangrove, who, having previously supported the Pakistan flood appeal, thought they should do more for those in our own community. One hundred per cent of the funds, over $52,000, went to the Queensland flood appeal via the Hornsby Mayor’s Flood Appeal, which was a very significant occasion.

The Imam Hasan Centre in Annangrove, a suburb in my electorate, was established only fairly recently, on 16 October 2004, coinciding with the first night of Ramadan. Even though it had a fairly rocky initial path, the comments I have received suggest that it has settled well into our community. It participates in the broader community and holds regular interfaith meetings with other religious organisations. The centre was named after the first grandson of the Holy Prophet, the Prophet Muhammad. Imam Hasan was an advocate for peace, and it is said that an example of his character can be seen in his saying:

The most preferable adornment is graceful manners and height of intelligence is associating with people amicably.

The community in my electorate represents the religious diversity of Australia, something of which one can be very proud. In our community there are people of many different religions, cultures and races, who come together and support each other in a very positive way. I commend Abbas Aly and the community of the Imam Hasan mosque for their support for the people of Queensland in the horrific floods that they experienced. I am sure that, as many more people see examples of this sort of commitment to our broader community, it will make it much easier for us to be a harmonious society. In the context of Harmony Day, which we celebrated this week, I am pleased to have been able to bring these matters to the attention of the House.