Message from Chris Bowen MP

It is with great pleasure that I extend my best wishes to the organisers and participants of the 2011 Multicultural Eid Festival and Fair in Fairfield.

I congratulate the organisers of this successful annual event that is not only an important occasion in my electorate of McMahon, but has also become one of Sydney’s biggest cultural celebrations.

Australia is a richly multicultural nation which embraces the religious and cultural traditions of our diverse population. Our diversity is a source of social and economic strength, giving vibrancy and dynamism to Australian life.

Islam is one of the world’s great faiths and is particularly prominent in our region. Australia’s Muslim communities comprise a large number of diverse ethnicities and cultural backgrounds, originating from more than 100 countries, including in south-east Asia, south Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Nearly 40 per cent of Muslim Australians were born in Australia.

Muslim Australians have made a significant contribution to the Australian way of life, helping to shape our unique national identity. Today, there are more than 22 million Australians, and more than 340,000 of those are Muslim.

Today’s celebration marks the end of the month-long fast observed by Muslims during the holy month of Ramadan. It has been a time for prayer, generosity and self-reflection for Muslims. It is a time for helping those in need and performing charitable deeds. Importantly, Eid gives both Muslims and non-Muslims the opportunity to reflect on the values that we share, such as peacefulness, generosity, mutual respect and compassion.

I wish all Muslim Australians a happy Eid. Eid Mubarak.

Chris Bowen MP

Minister for Immigration and Citizenship