2015 Iftar Dinner
Australian Relief Organisation (or the ARO in short) held its third annual Ramadan iftar dinner on 27th June 2015 at the Renaissance Function Centre, Lidcombe.
The function attracted over 400 guests, Muslims and non Muslims from diverse backgrounds including the Australian, Burmese, Bosnian, Egyptian, Lebanese, Jordanian, Pakistani, Indian, Turkmen, Turkish and Chinese. Local media representatives were also present that evening.
Various members of the federal and state parliament as well as other dignitaries were hosted at the dinner; including the Hon. Laurie Ferguson; Federal Labour Member for Werriwa, The Hon. Luke Foley; NSW Labour Leader of the Opposition, The Hon. Paul Lynch; NSW Labour Member for Liverpool, The Hon. Jihad Dib; NSW Labour Member for Lakemba, as well as the Hon. Greg Donnelly Member of the Legislative Council, Le Lam; Auburn City Councillor.
ARO’s Public Engagement Manager; Rifat Akpinar was the MC for the evening, where President Ahmet Aydogan welcomed guests and outlined ARO’s mission statement. On behalf of the Board of Directors, President Aydogan thanked all the hardworking directors, advisors, members, volunteers and the wider community for their moral, physical and financial support in their second year of operation.
ARO CEO Cihan Tumen gave a presentation on the activities and briefed the audience on completed projects, ongoing activities and future plans of the organisation. Followingly, representatives from a number of nursing homes, rehab centres, asylum seeker agencies, schools for children with special needs were awarded with thank you plaques for their co-operation with the Australian Relief Organisation.
Laurie Ferguson underlined the importance of ARO’s activities and identified the organisation’s efforts critical. Ferguson mentioned that there is a negative image of Islam portrayed in the mass media, and emphasised that through organisations like the ARO, the Australian public can appreciate the essence of sharing and solidarity promoted by Islam. Ferguson stated that the value of a human life is equal regardless of the background of victims, hence commented that humanitarian aid activities should not discriminate the beneficiaries for their religion, race or gender. Ferguson acknowledged ARO’s activities in line with his definition, and thanked the board of directors especially for developing local projects that provides relief to Australians.
Highlight of the evening was the presentation of a recognition award to a 93 year old local men named Lionel Mance. Lionel received this award for his loyalty towards her beloved wife of seven decades, supporting his wife in her old age, visiting her every day by catching a bus to the local nursing home and feeding her daily meals personally.
Both Luke Foley and Paul Lynch voiced their appreciation for having organisations like the ARO in their local community. Jihad Dib placed emphasis on the spirit of Ramadan, beauty of iftars and importance of charity in Islam. Dib stated that ARO is very successful in bringing people together in Ramadan and raising much needed charity for the poor and needy.
Before the conclusion, Burmese Muslim Association presented a cheque to ARO President, providing their community’s support to Nepal Earhtquake victims.
Finally group photos were taken to mark the significance of the evening.
2014 Iftar Dinner
Aro Iftar 2014 – Media Release
The Australian Relief Organisation held its annual Ramadan Iftar dinner on 5th July 2014 at the Auburn Amity Gymnasium to embrace and thank the public.
Various Members of parliament were hosted at the Iftar dinner – Tony Issa; Member for Granville, representing the NSW Premier Mike Baird and Victor Dominello, John Robertson; Member for Blacktown & Leader of the Opposition, Barbara Perry; Member for Auburn, Paul Lynch; Member for Liverpool, Hicham Zraika; Mayor of Auburn, Tony Oldfield; Councillor of Auburn City, Mehmet Saral, President of Galaxy Foundation, Munir Mohammad; Editor of Rabitah Magazine, Mehar Ahmad; President of the Australian MEFF Consortium, Zia Ahmad; Editor of the Australasian Muslim Times Newspaper, and Australian Universal Federation and Galaxy Foundation.
People from a number of cultural backgrounds including the Burmese, Bosnian, Pakistani, Indian, Iranian, Uyghur, Somali, Chinese and Turkish communities attended the iftar. Local media representatives were also present that evening.
The night was opened with MC Rifat Akpinar’s inspirational words, who is also an ARO Advisor. ARO President Ahmet Aydogan welcomed the dignitaries along with around 290 guests in attendance and introduced ARO’s vision and mission. Later, President Aydogan thanked all the hardworking directors, advisors, members, volunteers of the Australian Relief Organisation and the wider community for their moral, physical and financial support in the second year of operations.
Followingly, ARO CEO Cihan Tumen gave a presentation on the activities and outlined ARO’s completed projects (NSW Blue Mountains Bushfire Appeal, Cambodian Clothing Appeal, Past & Current Iftar campaigns) and also highlighted current projects (Ramadan, Soma Mine Disaster and Bosnian Floods Appeals). Tumen also officially launched the three new international campaigns for Water Wells, Sponsorhip of Orphans and Refurbishment of an Orphanage in Cambodia. He also raised the awareness for tackling poverty, social cohesion and serving humanity.
Tony Issa, MP Member for Granville started his speech by greeting the attendees with the Muslim greeting and highlighted that the Prophet Muhammed (saw) was also sharing of his iftars. Tony Issa emphasised that communities should work together and thanked ARO for their hard effort.
State Opposition leader MP John Roberton, Member for Blacktown was proud with the fact that he was at another iftar dinner. Robertson placed emphasis on the meaning of iftar and for people of all walks of life getting together, meeting each other and breaking down ignorance and practicing tolerance. He said that organisations like ARO were very successful in bringing people together in the Holy month of Ramadhan and raising much needed charity for the poor and needy. He thanked ARO for their invitation and wished them all the best.
In his speech, Auburn Mayor Hicham Zraika mentioned that Muslims and non Muslims should always get together, meet greet and indulge in dialog. He thanked ARO for their invitation and looked forward to working on other projects together.
Once all the formalities were finished, ARO President Ahmet Aydogan and Advisor Anes Harambasic distributed appreciation plaques to dignitaries, supporters and some volunteers for their vital support of the ARO’s operations. Finally group photos were taken to mark the significance of the evening.
2013 Iftar Dinners
The Australian Relief Organisation has held two iftar dinners in July to embrace the Australian public. On July the 20th 2013, an official dinner was organised and Ms Gulseren Celik, Turkish Consul General to Sydney was the guest of honour. Mr Yusuf Yurt, the Social and Administrative Attachee from the Turkish Consulate General to Sydney also attended the event along with, Mr. Ahmet Keskin; Executive Director of Affinity Intercultural Foundation and Mr. Mehmet Ozalp; Executive Director of ISRA, Islamic Sciences and Research Adaemy of Australia. Along with imams and presidents of several mosques, reps from other community organisations, Australian Universal Federation, Galaxy Foundation and local media were also present that night. Spirits were high at night when the ARO President Aydogan welcomed 82 guests in attendence. Then the ARO CEO Cihan Tumen requested for continued support from the public and the night ended with high expectations from the new organisation in Auburn.
In another occasion on July the 28th 2013, an outreach iftar was shared with over 90 guests. Among them were Mrs Semra Batik, Councillor for Auburn Council, and Mr. Izzet Anmak, member for Australia for Presidency for Turks Abroad and Related Communities. Many representatives from leading community organisations were also present; including Mr. Athar Zaidi; President of Muhammadi Welfare Association, Mr. Hamid Hassib, President of Afghan Noor Association, Mr. Thurein Win, President of Burmese Muslim Association, Mr. Ismail Aydogan, President of the Aus tralian Universal Federation of Education and Culture, Mr. Saygin Othman of Nur Foundation, and Mr. Ernest Kulauzovic, President of Centre for Contemporary Initiatives .