Elias Tanos speech in the annual LCC Iftar 2019

Welcome to the Dr Khalil Mustapha hall.  Now, I know that these are the longest days of the year, which is why I’m so glad that they put the first course down right away.

 I know you’re hungry, and I promise to be brief.

I want to thank the members of our councils who are here today, as well as our members of parliament , and all those serving across government who are joining us.  And I especially want to recognize all the inspiring young people who are here today, many of whom We shared many celebrations with.  To all of you, and to Muslim Australians across the country -- Ramadan Kareem.  

Our annual LCC  Iftar recognizes the sacredness of Ramadan to more than 1.5 billion Muslims around the world.  It’s a time when Muslims recommit themselves to their faith, following days of discipline with nights of gratitude for the gifts that God gave us.  It’s a time of spiritual renewal and a reminder of one’s duty to our fellow man -- to serve one another and lift up the less fortunate.  The Quran teaches that God’s children should tread gently upon the earth and, when confronted by ignorance, reply “peace.”  In honoring these familiar values together -- of peace and charity and forgiveness -- we affirm that, whatever our faith, we’re all one family.      

Our Iftar is also a reminder of the freedoms that bind us together as Australians, including the freedom of religion -- that inviolable right to practice our faiths freely.  

When our values are threatened, we come together as one  community.  When  Muslim s In NZ were brutally murdered in Mosques  earlier this year, Australians and New Zealanders  of all faiths rallied around that community.  And obviously, tonight, our prayers remain with Them. 

As  Australians, we insist that nobody should be targeted because of who they are, or what they look like, who they love, how they worship.  We stand united against these hateful acts.
These are the freedoms and the ideals, and the values that we uphold.  And it’s more important than ever, because around the world and here at home, there are those who seek to divide us by religion or race or sect.  Here in Australia, many people personally don’t know someone who is Muslim.  They mostly hear about Muslims in the news -- and that can obviously lead to a very distorted view.

So tonight, we keep in our prayers those who are suffering around the world, including those marking Ramadan in areas of conflict and deprivation and hunger.  
So these challenges around the world and here at home demand the very qualities you summon every day during Ramadan:  sacrifice, discipline, patience.  A resilience that says we don’t simply endure, but we overcome.  Together, we can overcome ignorance and prejudice.  Together, we will overcome conflict and injustice -- not just with words, but with deeds.  With what  the civil rights icon John Lewis, calls using our feet -- getting out in the real world to organize and to create the change that we seek.  That’s what so many of you do every single day.  And that’s what we have to continue to do together, here in Australia and around the world.  As the Quran teaches, let us answer with “Peace.” 

May God bless you all.  Have a wonderful Ramadan.  And get back to dinner.  Thank you very much.



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