Australia Day is one of the most important celebrations that Australian Ahmadiyya Muslims take part in every year. A bit of thought, planning and resources go into organising events like flag hoisting ceremonies, Australia Day dinners, Australia Day BBQs in all of the Ahmadiyya mosques in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide. However, since Ahmadiyya Muslims don't have a mosque in Canberra yet, the Canberran Ahmadiyya Muslims have to think of other ways of celebrating the event.
Ahmadiyya Muslims in front of Griffin Centre where they have their prayer room
Canberran Ahmadiyya Muslims have previously organised events in rented halls and invited external guests but this time it was decided that they would take part in activities at Rond Terrace near Anzac Parade. They also decided to distribute the "Muslims for Loyalty" leaflet on Australia Day as part of their national campaign to distribute 500,000 copies of the leaflet.
Ahmadiyya Muslims inside their prayer room - Credit ABC TV News
The distribution of "Muslims for Loyalty" leaflet actually started on Friday the 22nd with a small group of Ahmadiyya youth and children handing out the leaflet near Canberra Shopping Centre at Garema Place. The leaflet was met with overwhelmingly positive response. By passers went our of their way to come closer and ask questions about the leaflet and its purpose. One day later, the auxiliary organisation for men above 40 years of age, Ansarullah, started their Canberra wide campaign of letterbox delivery. Thousands of "Muslims for Loyalty" and "Muslims for Peace" leaflets were delivered into mailboxes all across Canberra.
Ahmadiyya Muslims outside Griffin Centre
On Australia Day, a group of Ahmadiyya Muslims congregated at Rond Terrace. Most of the group members were wearing T-shirts with slogans like "Love for All Hatred for None", were wearing Australia Day caps and were carrying Australian flag. Leaflet distribution started as soon as the group arrived and continued through the next few hours. Several group photos was taken with the ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr before the flag raising ceremony. The group then witnessed the flag raising ceremony and the citizenship ceremony. After the ceremonies, more group photos were taken with several notable personalities. Australian of The Year 2016 David Morrison spoke with some of the Ahmadiyya group members, inspected the leaflet and said:
"This is what this country needs"
Ahmadiyya Muslims with Australian of The Year 2016 David Morrison
Mr Morrison also shook hands with the President of Ahmadiyya Muslim Association ACT Mr Mohammad Tafazul Hasan and said:
"You are the type of Muslims we want in Australia"
The Ahmadiyya group managed to handout the leaflet to the following dignitaries:
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull
ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr
Australian of The Year 2016 David Morrison
Victoria Cross recipient Ben Roberts-Smith
The Australia Day activities came to a close with a well deserved lunch at Nandos.
We were fortunate enough to get plenty of media coverage, here are some links to media coverage we got: