Benevolence Australia took pride in partnering with the Victoria Police Muslim Association (VPMA) to co-sponsor a special iftar dinner, shared here in Melbourne with over 250 guests including special guests from Christchurch, Jamal Green from the Al Nour Mosque and Peter Cooper, Inspector with Christchurch Police.
Also joining us were members of the Victoria Police including Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton, Commissioners from various regions across Victoria, Federal Police, youth and staff from Wellington Secondary College, Doncaster Secondary College, East Doncaster Secondary College, Minaret College and members of Muslim and non-Muslim communities from regional Victoria, namely Bendigo and Shepparton.
Prior to the iftar, Benevolence founder Saara Sabbagh facilitated an enlightening Understanding Islam and Ramadan program to police officers from across the state. Police had come from the Critical Incident Response Team, metro and regional divisions, general policing, community engagement and the Academy to learn about Islam and the importance of the holy month of Ramadan.
The VPMA is the largest faith-based employee network in Victoria Police. It was formed in September 2013 to promote social cohesion and harmony, and raise the profile of Muslim's working in Victoria Police. The VPMA’s membership is comprised of 85 proud and active Victoria Police employees who include Victorian public servants, police officers, protective service officers and police custody officers.
It was a privilege to share in important conversations about cohesion and how successful multiculturalism is a tool for national security and what cohesion looks like in other communities and organisations.
The evening was a resounding success, and could not be possible without the tireless efforts of staff and volunteers from both organisations. We extend a special thank you to VPMA Chairperson, Sergeant Maha Sukkar, and VPMA Patron the Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police, Mr. Graham Ashton for enabling this event to eventuate.
The successful and respectful production of events such as this iftar dinner depends on team work and harmonious collaboration. The holy Quran stated the importance of team work in the verse: Surely Allah loves those who struggle for His cause in ranks, as if they were a solid cemented structure. (61: 4)
Photography credits: Elio Rulli, Studio House Photography