Massive crowd for Eid-al-Adha Prayer at Lakemba Mosque

Inclement weather conditions did little to dampen the enthusiasm of the massive crowd of worshippers who gathered at Australia’s most iconic masjid, Ali Bin Abi Taleb (Lakemba) Mosque on Wednesday 28 June for the Eid-Al-Adha Prayer.

Religious, business, political and community leaders made up the VIP guest list, including NSW Premier Chris Minns, Federal Employment Minister Tony Burke (representing Prime Minister Anthony Albanese), State Opposition Leader Mark Speakman, NSW Cabinet Ministers Jihad Dib and Sophie Cotsis, and Bilal El-Hayek, the first ever Muslim mayor of the City of Canterbury Bankstown.

Speaking on behalf of his board at the traditional post-Eid Prayer speeches, LMA Secretary Gamel Kheir paid his respect to the traditional owners of the land and welcomed everyone present, including the many special guests.

He pointed out that Eid is a time of true sacrifice and is a lesson that we should always put the greater good ahead of ourselves and reach out to help those in need – be they our family, our neighbours, our friends or our community.

Premier Minns praised the wonderful, local Muslim community, wishing everyone a happy day ahead, (to be spent) with family and friends.

Speaking on behalf of Mr Albanese, Tony Burke wished those present and Muslims around the world well for Eid, before conveying a message from the Prime Minister, praising Muslim Australians “for the vital role they have played in strengthening and enriching our diverse society.”

Mark Speakman acknowledged of all of his parliamentary colleagues present, singling out Tina Ayyad (Member for Holsworthy), who is the first MP in the history of the NSW Lower House to wear the hijab.

Sophie Cotsis described Eid as a “very important occasion of peace and sacrifice” and thanked all Muslim families who have sacrificed by giving the less fortunate overseas a very important gift (through Qurban contributions)”.

She also acknowledged the local community for the sacrifices they have made, particularly over the past few tough years and for their charity “not just in the local area, but across NSW.”

Closing the gathering, the always popular NSW Customer Service Minister Jihad Dib described how much he enjoys celebrating Eid with the local community and offered a special thank you to his colleagues from the different political parties for their presence on the day.

The first Minister in the NSW parliament to be sworn into office holding the Qur’an, Mr Dib commented, “what we see today is an example of support for multiculturalism and diversity of faith across all political aisles.”

He also thanked the community for all the sacrifices they make, pointing out that he always hear Muslims saying,  “Alhamdulillah for everything”.

“We live in the best country in the world and in saying Alhamdulillah, we should always remember those doing it a lot tougher than we are.”