By LACHLAN MOORHEAD
A REPRESENTATIVE from the Langwarrin-based Ahmadiyya Muslim Association of Victoria said the group was humbled to learn that Holt MP Anthony Byrne had praised the association in a speech delivered to Federal Parliament last month.
The association’s external affairs secretary Rehmat S. Mohammed said Mr Byrne had “won the hearts” of the Ahmadiyya community by speaking about their human rights.
In his speech to parliament in Canberra on 20 March, Mr Byrne praised the local Ahmadiyya community, noting that the Victorian branch was the largest chapter in Australia.
“These are people who are putting their money where their mouth is, reaching out, trying to connect across faiths and across the community, promoting tolerance and understanding,” Mr Byrne said in his presentation.
“They are a great community; they are a community we should be upholding and promoting. I congratulate them on their endeavours and look forward to working with them in the future.”
Mr Byrne wanted to speak about the Ahmadiya Muslim community in Parliament after he attended the association’s Australia Day dinner as a guest of honour.
During a subsequent meeting with representatives from the association, Mr Byrne was informed of US President Barack Obama’s recent speech on Ahmadiyya persecution.
In parliament, Mr Byrne also highlighted the persecution of the Ahmadiyya Muslims around the world, including in Indonesia, Pakistan, Malaysia, Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia where they are considered non-Muslim.
“As a result, they face serious breaches of their human rights, such as not having the right to vote and having their lives at constant risk because of their moderate beliefs,” My Byrne told Parliament.
“Unfortunately, for their trouble, in other countries that I have mentioned they are being persecuted; they are literally being killed.”
Mr Mohammed applauded Mr Byrne for making a “loud and clear” stand for Ahmadiyya human rights.
“The very next day when I went to the mosque, everyone from the community wanted to thank him for speaking for the Ahmadiyya human rights situation in Pakistan and in Indonesia and in a number of other countries,” Mr Mohammed said.