The Baitul Masroor Mosque in Stockleigh was awash with Australian flags and Australian pride during the Ahmadiyya Muslim community's Australia Day event on Tuesday.
Locals from across Logan enjoyed the event alongside mosque members, various representatives from other religious faiths and local politicians including councillor Phil Pidgeon, councillor Don Petersen, mayoral candidates Luke Smith and Ken Houliston as well as a number of nominees for council including Stacey McIntosh, Laurie Koranski and Blaise Itabelo.
The national president of the Ahmadiyya community, Australia Imam Kauser, flew in to attend the festivities from Sydney and said he was encouraged by the large turnout of people from all faiths at the Mosque.
"I'm excited, it's a sign of love, respect and honour for the others as well. When people come from different backgrounds and celebrate Australia Day together, that is really great," he said.
The event also coincided with the distribution of half a million Muslims-for-loyalty leaflets by the Ahymadiyya community across Australia, which sought to remind all that love of one's country of residence is part of the Islamic faith.
"The purpose of this celebration, especially distributing the leaflets and flyers is [that]...in European countries and in Australia, people think that Muslims are not loyal to their country, that they are going back to or are loyal to their previous countries but the advice given by the holy prophet Muhammad is wherever you reside, you should be loyal to that place, not the previous one. Where you live, where you take all your provisions or benefits, you should be loyal to that country. This is our message. People must understand that the Ahmadiyya Muslim community where ever we are, we are loyal to that very land, and that we consider it our homeland.
"Especially Australia is such a country which has embraced us like a mother and taken care of us like a father. Back where most of our members are from Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and some middle eastern countries, we do not have that freedom of speech or freedom of religion, which we have here. This is what we really appreciate, the freedom which we have been given and that makes us closer to the country and gives us the feeling that we should be doing something for the progress of this country."
Festivities began with a flag raising ceremony of both the national and state flags by Imam Kauser and Imam Nadeem of Stockliegh Mosque, during which a group of school children sung the national anthem.
The formal section of the event featured recitation from the Quran, a poem written by the founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, the Promised Messiah, and moving speeches by Ahmadiyya Muslim children Ata-ul-Karim Gohar and Amatul Musawir, where they reflected on why they love Australia and what makes our country great.
Each of the local politicians including member for Logan, Linus Power, also addressed those in attendance, thanking the Ahmadiyya community for their community spirit and for giving back in times like the 2011 floods. Attendees then sat down to a barbecue dinner.
Imam Kauser said the Ahmadiyya community will continue to give back to the community going forward in order to prove that their love for Australia is genuine.
"The next step is we will prove it with our actions and deeds. It's a claim but we have to do something to prove it and we will prove it. Whatever the country will be in need of, any service, we will do it. Our community is always at the forefront of clean up Australia Day, tree planting, Red Cross blood drives, all these types of things which are related to the community -- but even more than that -- whatever is needed, we will help with," he said.
The worldwide head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, His Holiness, Mirza Masroor Ahmad, describes the true feelings of Ahmadiyya Muslims in these words: "As citizens of any country, we Ahmadi Muslims, will always show absolute love and loyalty to the State. Every Ahmadi Muslim has a desire for his chosen country to excel and should always endeavour towards this objective. Whenever a country requires its citizens to make sacrifices the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community will always be ready to bear such sacrifices for the sake of the nation.”
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