5 July, 2016
Sport has the rare capacity to be able to bring people together for a common interest, regardless of age, gender, race, or religion. You do not have to be able to speak a certain language to be able to play, watch and appreciate sport in all its glory.
Vicsport, in conjunction with the Australian Intercultural Society, hosted the inaugural Victorian Sport Community Iftar Dinner on Monday 4 July, bringing together Muslim community leaders, and a broad spectrum of disciplines in one room to experience this tradition.
‘Iftar’ is the evening meal whereby Muslims end their daily Ramadan fast at sunset.
This event focused on seeking understanding, respect and acceptance of others as key contributors to social harmony, and the important role that sport plays in Victorian communities.
The Dinner was emceed by Angela Pippos, and included a sports panel featuring Australian Cricketer Fawad Ahmed and AFL Player Ahmed Saad. The Panel also featured Australian Paralympian Maddy Hogan who discussed her preparations and hopes for the Games in Rio. Each panel member shared their experiences of sport, and how organisations can create more inclusive environments. A common theme from the panel was how sport brought people together regardless of language, ethnicity, or gender.
The evening was an amazing opportunity to learn from one another, and come together and understand the role sport can play in breaking down barriers. The dinner concluded with several leading members of the sporting and Muslim communities saying a few words on what they had learnt and what they will take away from the evening.
"It is wonderful that the Victorian sports community has embraced this opportunity to share a meal with leaders of the Victorian Muslim community. The Dinner aims to increase the understanding of the Muslim community within sport and it is fantastic that Victoria’s sport leaders are keen to be involved,” said the Australian Intercultural Society Executive Director, Ahmet Keskin.
"Sport in Victoria has the unique ability to unite, educate and support the entire community. The Victorian Sport Iftar Dinner is symbolic of the many initiatives Victorian sporting organisations are implementing to provide welcoming, healthy and inclusive environments to encourage more Victorians and Victorian communities to enjoy the enormous benefits that sport can provide,” said Vicsport CEO, Mark McAllion.
The AFL and Cricket Australia are major supporters of the event and have been involved on the organising committee with Vicsport and the Australian Intercultural Society.
A number of Victoria’s major sporting organisations and supporters of sport were also in attendance to support the event;
The Dinner was held at the Islamic Museum of Australia (Thornbury) and included a tour of the museum where attendees received an introduction into Muslim culture and history here in Australia.
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