Ovens & Murray Advertiser

Muslim communitie­s unite to support bushfire affected communitie­s

- By CORAL COOKSLEY

AROUND 35 volunteers including two highly respected Sheikh’s from different Shia Muslim organisati­ons across Melbourne arrived in Beechworth last Thursday as united group to support bushfire relief efforts.

Organised by local Indian Restaurant owners Shabbir Hussain and his wife Asra Fatima, Mr Hussain said he was surprised with the number of supporters who turned up at short notice.

Mr Hussain had contacted three organisati­ons with a request for them to help as a community under one banner representi­ng all Shia Muslims of Australia.

“We cooked 100 gluten free vegetarian meals for the emergency relief centres in Wangaratta with distributi­on organised by Geoff Pearson from the Rotary Club of Milawa Oxley,” he said.

Riaz Abbas Zaki from one of the organisati­ons - the ALASR Society of Australia - who also contacted other groups, said it was a day where everyone could come together to help Australia irrespecti­ve of faith and be united as one.

Indigo Shire mayor Jenny O’Connor welcomed the volunteers to the town and thanked them for their generosity to support and work for the community to help bushfire affected communitie­s.

“They have driven from Melbourne to see what they can do to assist and have offered to help council, our community and businesses,” she said.

“This shows that as a nation we stand very strong when we are all together and united, and it is a great honour that they came to Beechworth.”

Beechworth’s Anglican Christ Church priest Thomas Leslie, who also welcomed them to Beechworth as community member, said it was a significan­t visit as it was the first time that different Shia muslim organisati­ons had united for a common human cause.

“It was building relationsh­ips between their organisati­ons as well as across cultural groups,” he said.

 ?? PHOTO: Coral Cooksley ?? UNITED: Volunteers from muslim communitie­s across Melbourne travelled to Beechworth last Thursday to help cook meals at the local Indian restaurant for distributi­on through the relief centres in Wangaratta and assist communitie­s where they could.
PHOTO: Coral Cooksley UNITED: Volunteers from muslim communitie­s across Melbourne travelled to Beechworth last Thursday to help cook meals at the local Indian restaurant for distributi­on through the relief centres in Wangaratta and assist communitie­s where they could.

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