By the grace of Almighty Allah, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association of Australia, for the first time, celebrated the Fiji day on 9th October 2016 and was attended by approximately 700 people.
It took months of preparation for the success of the celebration. Members of the Fijian Desk of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community (Australia) worked tirelessly preparing the programme, the banners, inviting guests, working on the menu and many more.
The 9th of October 2016 was a beautiful day, a typical Fiji weather. Stalls were set up for sale of Bula shirts, Candy Floss and Jumping Castles.
Guests began arriving at the mosque around 9.30am. They were received at the gate by the reception team and guided to the Exhibition Hall for light refreshment. Our Chief Guest for the day was His Excellency Mr Yogesh Punja, High Commissioner of the Republic of Fiji to Australia.
At 10.15 the flag hoisting took place. The Fiji flag was raised by Mr Yogesh Punja and Michelle Rowland whilst the Australian flag was raised by our Respected Ameer and National President Imam Kauser Sahib and the Mayor of the Blacktown City Council Councillor Stephen Bali.
The guests then moved to the Khilafat Hall for the main programme to begin.
The programme began with the recitation of the Holy Quran by Irfan Khan Sahib. He recited Chapter 59 Verses 23 – 25. This was followed by the singing of the National Anthem of Fiji by a group of young children. This was very well received by everyone present.
A recorded nazam by Ismatullah sahib was then played by the MTA.
In his welcome address, Ashfaq Hussain sahib said that to many Fiji was a little dot on the world map, to millions it was the best tourist destination. Many people were going to Fiji to get married and honeymooning. He said that the Fiji Sevens team, by winning the Rio Olympics gold medal, had made Fiji known to the rest of the world. A short video of the finals was played.
He welcomed everyone to the Baitul Huda mosque for the 46th Fiji day celebration and hoped everyone would have an enjoyable day. A special word of welcome was extended to the guest of honour His Excellency My Yogesh Punja.
Three young speakers from the jamaat spoke on their experiences about Fiji. They were Afsheen Hussain, Nazahah Hussain and Rizwan Shariff.
Their speeches were well appreciated by the guests and everyone at the function. This was followed by the guest speakers as per below.
- Mr Kevin Connolly MP – Member for Riverstone
- Ms Prue Car MP – Member for Londonderry
- The Hon David Clarke MLC
- Dr Hugh McDermott – Member for Prospect
- Clr Stephen Bali Mayor Of Blacktown
- Clr Moninder Singh – Blacktown Council
- Mr Zarak Khan - Consulate General of the Republic of Fiji
- Detective Sergeant Vic Guillaumier, Mount Druitt LAC
- Mr Shiva Karan _Sathya Sai International Organisation
- Mr Pramodh Rai – Arya Samaj
- Mr Sajana Nand – AHMA
- Mr Maqbool – a pioneer ahmadi from Fiji
- Mr Aziz Dean – a pioneer ahmadi from Fiji
The keynote speaker for the day was His Excellency Mr Yogesh Punja. He spoke about the progress Fiji has made in the recent years and prompted those present to visit Fiji more often.
The concluding address was by Imam Kauser sahib. He spoke on the contributions of the Fiji Ahmadis to the development of the Ahmadiyya community in Australia. He said that the members are very easy to approach and are always willing to cooperate. He prayed for the progress of the community in Fiji and Fiji as a country. He also thanked all those involved in making the day a success and concluded by saying silent prayers.
Lunch was served to all present.
A soccer match between the Sathya Sai Organisation and the Ahmadiyya community team was played. The game was won by the Ahmadiyya team and they were presented a shield. The Sathya Sai team was presented a shield for their participation.
The day was a great success. The Fijian Desk would like to record a special word of thanks to the following in preparation for the Fiji Day:
- Respected Ameer and national President Imam Kauser Sahib for continued guidance.
- M Khalil Sheik for working tirelessly on the programme and the general organization.
- Shageer Mohammed for distributing the invitation cards
- Mahmud Shah for working on the banners, backdrop and stage preparation.
- Ramzan Shariff in inviting the dignitaries.
- Sharfaraz Rahim in the preparation of fish in lolo and cassava, setting the jumping castles and stalls.
- Irfan Khan in organization the shields and sports.
- Khatimul Hussain in getting the group ready for the national anthem.
Mohammed Ashfaq Hussain
Courtesy of Ahmadiyya Gazette Australia