Darulfatwa Australia invited Al-Azhar Ash-Sharif to Australia in a historic move that is set to modify the turbulent dynamics in the Australian Muslim community tilting the weights further towards living in harmony and leadership by example.
Darulfatwa’s relationship with Al-Azhar Ash-Sharif is a sophisticated academic and spiritual partnership built on common values and a shared view of Islam-the religion of moderation and balance.
Darulfatwa Chairman, his eminence Dr. Sheikh Salim Alwan Al-Husayni (an honourable descent of Prophet Muhammad) said about the heralding invitation:
“In our continued efforts to confront terrorism in Australia, Darulfatwa Australia extended a timely invitation to the Deputy Chair of Al-Azhar Ash-Sharif Professor of Islamic knowledge, Dr. ^Abbas Shuman, in the honourable month of Al-Mawlid, to experience first-hand the real situation of Muslims in Australia and to help us in our aim to diffuse efforts of radicalisation among our youth.”
Al-Azhar of Egypt is the peak institution of Islamic knowledge and academia for Sunni Muslims world-wide, established over one thousand and sixty years ago as a reputable body of Islamic resource, globally.
Dr. Sheikh Salim Alwan said Darulfatwa recognizes the importance of this historic visit by Al-Azhar.
“It is an honour to all Australian Muslims that Al-Azhar responded to our humble invitation to visit the Muslims of Australia, and Darulfatwa is proud to be the privileged host to the Deputy Chair of Al-Azhar, unveiling realities.
This is an unprecedented visit and an event that will mark the beginning of a mutual exchange of services between Darulfatwa Australia, in our capacity as the peak representatives for Muslims in Australia and Al-Azhar Ash-Sharif, all for the benefit of the Muslim community.”
Darulfatwa Australia planned the official three day VIP tour program in light of the commemoration of the birth of Prophet Muhammad and the rampant occurrences of terrorism, nationally and abroad, tarnishing the true image of Islam.
“Darulfatwa has been working closely with many international Islamic institutions for well over a decade in our efforts to curtail the radical ideologies coiling our youth from every direction,” Dr. Sheikh Salim Alwan said.
“Our aim is to consolidate the efforts of every passionate individual, committee, and institution and encourage them to be forward and active, not passive in their rejection to radicalisation that leads to terrorism,” said Dr. Sheikh Salim Alwan.
Darulfatwa Australia has always advocated that seeking correct knowledge is the best shield of protection against radicalisation. Since, Al-Azhar Ash-Sharif is famously, the symbol of correct Islamic knowledge, Darulfatwa Australia is confident that the visit of his eminence Professor Dr. Shuman will give strength to that call.
Darulfatwa Australia welcomed Professor Dr. Shuman and his associates at Sydney’s Kingsford Smith Airport at midday Sunday 20th of December, accompanied by the Islamic Charity Projects Association (ICPA) officials and a welcoming party including Muslim community leaders.
The official tour program was actioned immediately as Darulfatwa Australia arranged for Dr. Shuman and associates to be escorted from his hotel room to the Olympic Park Sports Centre in Homebush in time for the first VIP meeting scheduled at 4pm, in the prelude to the Multicultural Mawlid Concert.
The Multicultural Mawlid Concert
The Concert hosted national, state and local politicians in government and the opposition. This included His Excellency General Hon. David Hurley, the Australian Prime Minister represented by Senator the Hon. Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, the Hon. Phillip Ruddock MP, local MPs, dignitaries, diplomats and consulates from Sydney and Canberra, sheikhs and imams from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, journalists and community leaders and over 5000 spectators.
The Concert, organized by the ICPA and held under the patronage of Darulfatwa Australia for its 6th year on such a scale and calibre, is a prestigious event in which the carefully guarded and sacred traces of Prophet Muhammad are revealed and presented to the public for a touch of blessings.
The Concert reflected Darulfatwa Australia’s commitment to serving the entire Muslim population of Australia as it showcased the talent of children, men and women from over eight ethnically and linguistically diverse Muslim backgrounds in performances and chants. It also starred the world renowned chanter Haj Mohammad al-Kheir as a special guest from Lebanon.
Dr. Sheikh Salim Alwan introduced Professor Dr. Shuman to the VIP reception and invited him to make the inaugural address in Australia exclusive to the reception of VIPs and then to the crowd of over 5000 in the concert stadium.
“We love Al-Azhar Al-Sharif and we stress holding onto the teachings of moderation that we have learned from Al-Azhar Al-Sharif. The Azhar is the minaret of moderation and balance,” said Dr. Sheikh Salim Alwan in his introduction to Professor Dr. Shuman.
In his foundational address, the Deputy Chair of Al-Azhar Professor Dr. Abbas said:
“Firstly I extend a great salutation from the President of Al-Azhar University, his eminence, Professor Sheikh Ahmad At-Tayyeb and his ministry of scholars and sheikhs and offer their admiration and appreciation to the work that you do.”
“I thank Dr. Sheikh Salim Alwan for his effort in connecting you all with Al-Azhar Ash-Sharif which embraces a message of humanity for all.”
Professor Dr. Shuman went on to say:
“Islam is a religion of moderation not a religion of extremism. It is a religion for humanity, for fairness, for justice. These are all explained in the book of Allah and relayed by our Prophet, the birth of whom we are all here to celebrate”.
During the full program of official functions and tours, Professor Dr. Shuman gave many public and private talks addressing politicians, dignitaries, and community leaders.
In all he supported the call of Darulfatwa Australia and repeated three prominent messages: ‘Islam is the religion of peace and moderation, living in harmony is a need, and personal development is necessary to ensure becoming true ambassadors to Islam’.
Grand Tour of Sydney
On Monday the 21st of December the official tour lead by Darulfatwa Australia, began early at Sydney Parliament House.
With the help of the ICPA’s officials, Darulfatwa Australia gained access into the Parliament House which was closed for the holiday season, in a special tribute to Professor Dr. Shuman.
They were welcomed by Maroubra MP, Michael Daley, who is also head of MPs in parliament house.
Private talks took place discussing various matters of national security and the Australian Muslim community. Professor Dr. Shuman expressed his appreciation to Darulfatwa Australia and the Mr Daley for enabling the tour of Parliament House at such short notice.
The special guests were then escorted to various Islamic private schools in south west Sydney where Professor Dr. Shuman spoke with teachers, staff and students about the importance of attaining the correct Islamic knowledge to become assets to the nation and true representatives of Islam.
Professor Dr. Shuman then visited the Muslim Community Radio 2MFM at its studios in Bankstown where he expressed great admiration to the activities and achievements of the radio station and its noble strategies and aims in a radio interview conducted with presenter Haytham Hammoud.
In the company of Dr. Sheikh Salim Alwan, Professor Dr. Shuman also visited various sports clubs and youth centres in the Muslim community, as well as mosques and prayer halls before being escorted to the VIP Lunch.
Living in Harmony, VIP Lunch
With the aid of the ICPA’s organizing committee, Darulfatwa Australia held a VIP Lunch at Salamah College in Chester Hill on Monday 21st of December at 4pm, in honour of the special guests from Al-Azhar University.
Dr. Sheikh Salim Alwan said:
“The aim of the VIP Lunch is to introduce Professor Dr. Shuman and associates to as many key Australian figures as possible from the wider Australian, Muslim and non-Muslim communities in order to help the cause of clearing Islam from the strangles of adverse publicity and free our youth from the traps of radicalisation.”
The VIP Lunch hosted 200 VIPs including Australian politicians, Muslim community leaders and key figures, major Arabic media representatives, ethnically diverse sheikhs and imams from Sydney and Canberra, Consulate Generals including the Sydney Consul General of Egypt Youssef Shawki and Bishop Daniel patron of the Coptic Orthodox Egyptian Church.
Dr. Sheikh Salim Alwan announced the opening of the new Darulfatwa Australia Offices at Chester Hill and encouraged the community to keep making it their home of knowledge and religious edicts.
Dr. Shiekh Salim Alwan then presented Professor Dr. Shuman with a trophy of gratification for his visit and commitment to the Muslim community of Australia. Following this, twelve Muslim community organizations handed Professor Dr. Shuman trophies of appreciation and remembrance.
In his address, Professor Dr. Shuman commended Darulfatwa Australia for its efforts in spreading the moderate teaching of Islam and causing integration and then presented Dr. Sheikh Salim Alwan with an honorary ornamental Book about Al-Azhar Ash-Sharif that by tradition, is only presented to nobilities and privileged dignitaries.
During the evening, Professor Dr. Shuman sat with many different members of the community in a less formal gathering to listen to their feedback. They relayed their opinions about current social issues and their experiences as Muslims living in Australia.
Grand Tour of Melbourne
On Tuesday the 22nd of December, Dr. Sheikh Salim Alwan and his official party flew Professor Dr. Shuman and associates to Melbourne for a day long insight into the lives of Muslims in Melbourne.
After visiting key Islamic locations and venues in Melbourne, Darulfatwa Australia’s organizing committee had arranged a formal dinner with dignitaries. The guest list included the Ambassador of Egypt in Canberra who travelled especially to attend the Darulfatwa dinner, the Melbourne Consul General of Egypt, the well-known Egyptian Siddiq Organization officials, community leaders, key community figures and community members.
During this VIP dinner which marked the last of the formal tour program, his eminence Professor Dr. Shuman repeated his commendations of the efforts of Darulfatwa Australia and announced this time to the Melbourne Muslim community that Al-Azhar Ash-Sharif and Darulfatwa Australia are in agreement to exchange services for the betterment of the Muslim community.
As he did at the Mawlid Concert in Sydney a day before, Professor Dr. Shuman ended his talk inviting Muslims to enrol with Al-Azhar University through Darulfatwa Australia to seek the pure knowledge of Islam in a program that will be funded by the Azhar University.
Dr. Sheikh Salim Alwan said this partnership and agreement to exchange services, is a great benefit to the Muslim community and a breakthrough in our efforts to curtail radicalisation and diminish terrorist activity in Australia and abroad.