Aboriginal activist Rachel Perkins joins faith leaders at Ramadan dinner

Aboriginal activist Rachel Perkins joins faith leaders at Ramadan dinner

Aboriginal film director and activist Rachel Perkins joined faith leaders to discuss the Uluru Statement at an Iftar dinner held at Lakemba Uniting Church this week.

More than 90 guests across the community and people of different faiths came together to share the meal as part of the ritual breaking of the fast for Muslims during Ramadan.

The dinner was attended by leaders from Judaism, Islam, and Christianity, including the Grand Mufti of Australia, Ibrahim Abu Mohammed and the Moderator of the Uniting Church NSW and ACT Synod, Rev. Simon Hansford.

Guests were encouraged to contemplate what it means to build harmony in the community with the theme of the program – Journey to the Heart – also having a special focus on the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

Keynote speaker and Co-Chair of Australians for Constitutional Recognition, Rachel Perkins, discussed the importance of a yes vote at the upcoming referendum to decide on an Indigenous Voice to Parliament.

“This is potentially the greatest act of reconciliation of our generation,” Ms Perkins said.

“We’ve had 30 years of the reconciliation movement. And now here on the table is a practical resolution to the process of reconciliation, and all of the hard work that people have put in over that 30-year period to get to this moment,”

“It is not just recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people that we seek by recognising us in the Constitution. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are also recognising the Australian state. It is a moment of dual recognition. It is a moment of unity, where can we truly reflect on what a modern democracy could look like,” Ms Perkins said.

Other speakers included Phillipa McDermott who delivered an Acknowledgment of Country, while also paying homage to past Aboriginal warrior of the local area, Pemulwuy.

The Muslim population in Australia has a deep historical bond to Aboriginal communities since Indonesian fisherman started trading with First Nations peoples in the early 18th century. This relationship was further strengthened with the arrival of cameleers from Afghanistan in the 1860s.

These interactions fostered a mutual interest in each other’s spirituality, with some Aboriginal communities even integrating Islamic motifs into their belief systems.

The Building Harmony Iftar Dinner is in its tenth year and is hosted by the Uniting Church in Australia Assembly, Uniting Church NSW and ACT Synod, Uniting, and Affinity.


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