Celebrating diversity: RMIT launches inaugural Iftar dinner

Celebrating diversity: RMIT launches inaugural Iftar dinner

RMIT hosted its first Iftar dinner on Wednesday 22 May in partnership with the Islamic Council of Victoria to promote interfaith and inter-cultural harmony.

The event marked the beginning of a new partnership with the Islamic Council of Victoria (ICV) and brought together the University’s Muslim and non-Muslim community.

Ninety guests gathered in The Green Brain on Swanston Street for the Iftar dinner, the traditional meal that breaks the Ramadan fast.

The inaugural event provided an opportunity to share in the traditions of Islam during the holy month of Ramadan, celebrating the religious and cultural diversity of the University community.

Reflecting on the event, Vice-Chancellor Martin Bean said that partnering with the Islamic Council to host the Iftar dinner is one part of a wonderful legacy the University community is building.

"Because at RMIT, we protect and uphold the fundamental right of every peaceful student and staff member to celebrate their culture, to practice their religion and to live their choices openly.”

Guests were invited to share a traditional Iftar meal.

Religious and NGO community leaders were welcomed as part of the event, including President of the Islamic Council of Victoria Mohamed Mohideen OAM, General Manager of the Islamic Council of Victoria, Ayman Islam and Race Discrimination Commissioner Chin Tan.

RMIT Senior Chaplain and MC for the evening Alae Taule’alo said hosting an Iftar was a powerful signal of inclusion.

“Events like the Iftar celebrate diversity and inclusion by creating a forum for people from different backgrounds, faiths and values to break bread together and build relationships,” he said.

“The diversity of our community is one of our greatest strengths.”

L-R: Mohamed Mohidee and Vice-Chancellor Martin Bean.

Other speakers on the night stressed the importance of valuing religious and cultural plurality in a challenging environment, and the importance of countering terror and bigotry with hospitality and inclusion.

RMIT Chaplain Riad Galil OAM provided an introduction to Ramadan, followed by a Call to Prayers and invitation to break the fast with a meal of dates and water, before sharing a traditional Iftar meal.

 

Story: Maddy Pattison and Jasmijn van Houten

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