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Ministerial Speech: Premier's Iftar Dinner

As-salām ʿalaikum.

And welcome to the annual Premier's Iftar Dinner.

Unfortunately, the Premier is sick and extends his sincere apologies to you all for not being here.

However, he asked me to pass on this message:

Events like this Iftar dinner offer an important opportunity to come together as one people, no matter our personal stories.

Among the many values of Ramadan are charity, family, and a deepening sense of community.

These values are shared by many people across New South Wales.

And they bind us all together to help make our state such a vibrant place to live.

One of the greatest qualities that we all share in NSW is an obligation to serve others, regardless of who we are or what language we speak.

And—in the spirit of Ramadan—that is what I want to talk about tonight.

How you—the Muslim community—have helped shape our state through a period of adversity.

I am sure we would all agree that the past two years have been incredibly tough.

We’ve seen devastating bushfires, a global pandemic, and unprecedented floods.

Time and time again, our resolve and our faith were tested.

And there is no doubt these events will be seen as defining moments in our history.

Of course, they will be remembered by many for different things.

But for me, I will remember these events for the overwhelming displays of humanity and selflessness.

Our community spirit and resilience allowed us to overcome these challenges together.

What doesn’t break us makes us stronger.

And the Muslim community contributed greatly to this.

When adversity struck, you didn’t stand on the sidelines.

Instead, you showed your selflessness, compassion, charity, and resilience.

Whether it was in your own community or one far away, you put the needs of others above your own.

You did this through communicating important health messaging…

Transforming places of worship into vaccination hubs…

And providing food packages to flood victims.

Of course, this isn't unique to recent times.

We have seen it time and time again for many years.

And in the spirit of Ramadan—a time of peaceful reflection—I want to thank you for your contribution to our state.

Thank you to every organisation that has put its needs aside for the needs of others.

Thank you to your spiritual leaders for advocating for peace, charity and service for others.

Thank you for working with us during the pandemic to keep our communities safe.

And thank you for making our vibrant multicultural society even more vibrant.

You are all inspirational leaders in your communities—some of the most inspirational leaders in Australia for that matter.

But each of you here tonight are setting an outstanding example for up and coming leaders.

And in doing so you are paving the way for the next generation of Muslim leaders here in New South Wales.

I genuinely believe our state is one of the few places in the world that has a successful multicultural society.

A place looked to by others as a wonderful example of so many different people living together.

And that is one of the great things about the Muslim community.

During this holy time of fasting—while you are all reaffirming and strengthening your belief—you are making time to help us all understand why this holy month is so important.

In doing so, you are bridging gaps and offering pathways for cultural understanding.

And understanding our differences comes from a place of mutual respect and healthy curiosity.

Like this event right here tonight.

We have come together—not defined by our differences but by what connects us.

This is a great sign that we are a successful multicultural society

We don't just respect each other's differences. We embrace them and wish to learn from them.

For me, being invited to participate in this holiest of times is a humbling experience.

To learn and broaden my understanding of your faith and your communities.

In participating, I speak openly and honestly—and reaffirm my commitment as Minister for Multiculturalism to be your voice.

And I reaffirm that commitment to every one of you here tonight.

But in making that commitment, I also wish to ask something of you.

Please continue your work with us.

Together, I know we can make our great society even greater.

I would like to finish by saying it is a true honour to be with you all here in the spirit of Ramadan.

I hope that this holy month allows you to reflect and focus on your belief.

And once again, on behalf of the NSW Premier and Government, thank you for all that you do.

It does not go unnoticed.

Ramadan Mubarak.