HCCV was invited to participate in an IFTAR dinner on Friday 18th July. It was presented and organized by the Dharma Drum Mountain Buddhist Association in conjunction with the Australian Intercultural Society and with support from the Victorian Multicultural Commission. The dinner was hosted at Vegie Mum, 27 Village Avenue in Doncaster.
Quoted from Wikipedia: "Iftar is one of the religious observances of Ramadan and is often done as a community, with people gathering to break their fast together. Iftar is taken right after Maghrib time, which is around sunset. Traditionally but not mandatory, three dates are eaten to break the fast in emulation of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad, who broke his fast in this manner. Many Muslims believe that feeding someone iftar as a form of charity is very rewarding and that such was practised by the Prophet Muhammad.
AH Qasmi provides this information for breaking the fast to say this prayer at the time of Iftar: "O Allah! it is for thee that I observe fast and it is with Thine blessing that I break it."
According to the Majlis publication of South Africa: Allahuma inni laka sumtu wa 'ala rizqika aftartu - "O Allah! for thy sake I have fasted and now I break the fast with the food that comes from thee."
MC'ed by Dr Di Cousens and AIS Executive Officer Esma Yucel, the evening began with a minute of silence in memory of the victims of the MH17 tragedy.
Dr Di Cousens (left) and Esma Yucel (right).
Then the dedication of merits was given by Zimwock Rinpoche, followed by the Muslim call to prayer (adhan) and the breaking of the fast.
HCCV General Secretary Bhakta dasa presented a guidance for peace:
"Religion is meant for peace, not war. Again and again God has sent His messengers to this material world to re-establish religious principles.Different messengers have revealed different scriptures in different languages according to time, place, circumstances and the intellectual capacity of the people.In this way the Vedas, Torah, Sutras, Bible and Qur'an were made available for the benefit of mankind, to bring them closer to God.
Despite the different languages and different ages in which these scriptures were presented, the knowledge and guidance is essentially the same. That is:
1. God is one
2. Everyone is a servant of God
3. Everyone has an eternal relationship with God
4. The primary duty of everyone is Service to God
5. The goal of human life is to develop love of God.
As far as the process of each scripture is concerned, some details and rituals may differ, but in essence it is all the same. Every messenger of God came to this mortal world to remind us that we should always remember God, serve God, respect his creation and love God. Therefore, religious principles are meant for peace and prosperity, not war.
Vaishnavism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Indigenous Spirituality and more… especially the great faith of Islam, are all meant for uniting people, not dividing them.
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedhanta Swami Prabhupada, the Founder of the Hare Krishna Movement and modern day exponent of Vaisnava Hindu teachings or Bhakti Yoga, states: "In the vase there is a variety of flowers and that variety helps us better appreciate the idea of flowers. That is called unity in diversity."
So all the various religions of the world, each are like a beautiful unique flower with its own beauty…but when all the flowers are brought together in a bouquet the beauty is overwhelming as each flower complements the other. That is interfaith in action.
Tonight, at this Ramadan Iftar dinner, all of us together ….. is the creation of a beautiful flower bouquet. Thank you
OM SHANTI …PEACE BE UPON YOU "
Speeches were also given by Cr Philip Daw on behalf of Sharon Ellis, Mayor of Whitehorse City Council; Fr Nick de Groot SVD from the Janssen Centre; Catholic priest Fr Bob Maguire; Ahmet Polat, executive director of AIS; and Laura Chan, president of the Dharma Drum Mountain Buddhist Association. Sadik Kirazli recited several verses from the Quran, and Venerable Chi Kwang Sunim recited from the Buddhist scripture.
There was an amazingly beautiful Shakuhachi flute performance by Anne Norman.
Compliments to the chefs for the delicious 10 course vegetarian and vegan meal. It included a mixed Malaysian style entree platter, westlake vegetarian fish vinaigrette, black pepper vegetarian duck with broccolli, sweet and sour vegetarian ribs, stuffed bean curds, honey roast vegetarian pork with beans and abalone mushrooms and a special fried rice, and concluded with a fruit platter and vegetarian turkish delight. Even the non-vegetarians were blown away by the flavours and left totally satisfied.
From left to right: Ahmet Polat - Executive Director of the Australian Intercultural Society, Bhakta dasa - General Secretary of the Hindu Community Council of Victoria, and Laura Chan - President of the Dharma Drum Mountain Buddhist Association.