The 2016 iteration of the Sydney Muslim Conference (SMC), aims to continue sharing narratives surrounding the different expressions of Islam by Muslims in Australia and focusing on the intersection of culture and religion.

Building upon this theme, SMC 2016 is titled Bearer of good tidings: Understanding the Prophetic Legacy and focuses on the relevance and application of the Sunnah of the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) in a modern, Western context.

Speakers | Programs /

Fear and Loathing In The Time OF The Prophet: Responding To The Challenges We Face

This session will seek to address one of the most challenging questions facing the Muslim community in Australia: How do we respond to hatred? Considering the rise of far-right politics, vitriolic public discourse and aspects of wider public opinion being turned against the Muslim community, it becomes essential for us, as a community, to both understand the roots of this hatred and to know how to respond appropriately and counter it. In this situation, as with any other issues facing Muslims, we turn to our Prophet (PBUH), to guide and facilitate the Islamic response, one that balances our responsibilities, rights and vision for our community.

Speakers: Shaykh Wesam Cherkawi, Shaykh Ibrahim Abdullah
Host: Abdi Malik Osman
Location: Main Hall
Time: 10:15AM – 11:15AM

Location: Main Hall
10:15AM  -  11:15AM
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Shaykh Ibrahim Abdullah

Shaykh Ibrahim was born and raised in Sydney, Australia and has recently returned from studying the Islamic Sciences in the blessed land of Tarim, Yemen. After completing high school, he traveled to Tarim where he studied for ten years in Dar al-Mustafa under the tutelage of esteemed scholars including Shaykh Omar Al-Khateeb and Habib Omar bin Hafidh.

Shaykh Ibrahim completed the six-year program at Dar al-Mustafa, which included memorization of Quran and then furthered his studies in the Sciences of Fiqh and Hadith. With an Australian-born and raised background, Shaykh Ibrahim has returned with the hope of disseminating traditional Islamic knowledge in an Australian context. He is currently teaching Islamic Sciences at Dar Ibn Abbas.

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Shaykh Wesam Charkawi

Shaykh Wesam Charkawi was born and raised in Australia. From an early age, he sought the path of knowledge in the traditional Islamic sciences. Having studied for the past 12 years in various parts of the world including Syria and Lebanon, Shaykh Wesam is currently undertaking a PhD. He has received numerous Ijazas to teach in an array of Islamic subjects.

Shaykh Wesam has translated two world renowned books, Nur al-Idah (Hanafi Jurisprudence) and Risala an-Nafia (Creed) and is currently writing a book called Doubt, that argues for the existence of God.

He works in a Sydney based school as the Community Welfare Officer and is passionate about grassroot mentoring and assisting youth. In 2003, he founded the Abu Hanifa Institute which teaches the essential sciences of Islam to young Muslims.

The Challenges Of Being Muslim

Although there are a variety of individual issues facing the Muslim community in Australia at the moment, one key challenge that underscores so much of these discussions is around just being Muslim. Modern Australia has thrown countless obstacles at people merely seeking to exist as Muslims, being able to identify and practice Islam as people, as citizens with voices that count. So, in this session, our speakers will seek to share with us their understanding of what it means to be Muslim, and the challenges that come with that.

Speaker: Dr Randa Abdel-Fattah, Dr Mehal Krayem
Host:
Location: Main Hall
Time: 11:15Am

Location: Main Hall
11:15AM  -  12:15PM
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Mehal Krayem

Mehal Krayem recently completed her PhD at the University of Technology Sydney. Her research interests lie in popular culture, identity politics, critical race theory and gender. Mehal is currently an editor at Sajjeling, an online magazine dedicated to recording and unravelling Arab-Australian stories. It provides a platform for discussion, exploration and the consideration of ideas that affect the Arab-Australian diaspora. Mehal currently tutors at UTS and Macquarie University in both Social Inquiry and Media Studies.

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Randa Abdel-Fattah

Randa Abdel-Fattah is the award-winning author of over ten novels and is published in over 15 countries. Randa practised as a litigation lawyer for almost 10 years. She is now completing her PhD, researching Islamophobia and everyday multiculturalism in Australia.

Born in Sydney in 1979, Randa is a Muslim of Palestinian and Egyptian heritage. She studied Arts/Law at Melbourne University during which time she was the Media Liaison Officer at the Islamic Council of Victoria. During university and her role at the ICV, Randa was a passionate human rights advocate and stood in the 1996 federal election as a member of the Unity Party-Say No To Hanson.

Over the years Randa has volunteered with different human rights, refugee and migrant resource organisations. Randa has used her writing and media engagement as a medium for expressing her views about the occupation of Palestine, and racism and Islamophobia in Australia. Her books are taught in schools and she has spoken at writer’s festivals around the world. She is currently in development of a film adaptation of her debut novel, Does My Head Look Big In This? and in the final editing stages of her latest novel, set in Sydney. She lives in Sydney with her husband and three children.

SMC Workshops

Workshop 1: Healthy Relationships And The Muslim Community

There are many misconceptions surrounding how to build a healthy, successful relationship. Whether it be on how a husband treats a wife, or how a wife treats a husband, or the joint responsibilities of both spouses on how best to raise a healthy family, the underlying constructs of what makes a positive relationship is often misconstrued in discussions and lost.

Here, Dr Nada Ibrahim will outline how to build and maintain a positive relationship with your spouse, and the impacts healthy relationships can have on parenting and children. She will seek to explore these concepts through an Islamic prism, focusing upon the Prophetic model for marriage and parenting.

Speaker: Dr Nada Ibrahim
Location: Breakout Room 1
Time: 12:15PM – 1:15PM

Workshop 2: Environmentalism In The Time Of The Prophet

Anas ibn Malik reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, If the Resurrection were established upon one of you while he has in his hand a sapling, then let him plant it. (Musnad Ahmad 12491).

Reverence and respect for the local environment plays a far larger role in the life of Muslims than it does at the moment.

In this workshop, Shaykh Anthony Andrist will focus upon practical tips and means by which Muslims can come to embody the Prophets (PBUH) call to respect the Earth and our local environment.

Speaker: Shaykh Anthony Andrist
Location: Breakout Room 2
Time: 12:15PM – 1:15PM

Workshop 3: The Prophetic Response To Consumerism

By Allah, it is not the poverty about which I fear in regard to you but I am afraid in your case that (the worldly) riches may be given to you as were given to those who had gone before you and you begin to vie with one another for them as they vied for them. And these may destroy you as these destroyed them. (Sahih Muslim, Book #042, Hadith #7065).

Consumerism is one of the most powerful forces in the world today, shaping and changing the way Muslims engage with their communities, families and even with the Deen itself. Thus, it is imperative we both understand it and learn to counter it.

In this session, Dr Shadee will outline the key understandings of consumerism, and the means by which it can be counteracted via an understanding of the Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH).

Speaker: Dr Shadee Elmasry
Location: Breakout Room 3
Time: 12:15PM – 1:15PM

12:15PM  -  1:15PM
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Dr Nada Ibrahim

Dr Nada Ibrahim is currently working as a Senior Research Fellow with the Centre for Islamic Thought and Education (CITE).

Her background is cross-disciplinary including psychology, Islamic studies, education, and criminology. Her expertise is in building healthy family relationships including intimate partner violence (IPV) in Muslim communities and has been involved in many cross-cultural training activities with service providers on IPV and Muslim related issues.

As a Community Advocate, she has set up a number of programs to facilitate healthy family relationships within the Muslim community that utilises the Muslim worldview and underpinned with a strength-based approach.

Nada’s research background has driven her work in buidling healthy family relationships among faith-based and culturally & linguistically diverse communities, community work at grass-root level to set up culturally and religiously appropriate services for survivors/victims of family violence, perpetrators, families afflicted with domestic violence and children that grow up in those homes. Her focus is on a preventative and recovery approach.

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Dr Shadee Elmasry

Dr Shadee Elmasry was born and raised in New Jersey. He began studying the traditional sciences at 18 after a summer in Fes, Morocco. Since then he has studied all over the world including Hadramawt (Yemen), Mecca and Madina (Saudi Arabia), London (UK), Cairo (Egypt) and New Jersey (U.S.) under several luminaries of our time.

He graduated with a B.A. from Rutgers University in New Jersey in sociology, religions, and philosophy and went on to receive his Masters from The George Washington University with a thesis on Sayyid Muhammad Alawi al-Maliki under the supervision of Professor Seyyed Hossein Nasr.

Dr Elmasry received his Ph.D from the University of London in February 2007. His thesis was entitled Dawa in the Works of Imam Abd Allah bin Alawi al-Haddad. His articles have been published by the Routelege Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs (September 2010) as well as the Zaytuna Seasons Journal (Autumn 2007).

Dr Elmasry has taught at several universities including Yale University, University of London SOAS, Trinity College, Hartford Seminary and Manhattanville College.

Currently, Dr Elmasry has found his way back home as Scholar in Residence and Director of Education and Community Affairs at the New Brunswick Islamic Center in New Jersey. He is also the founder and head of Safina Society, an institution dedicated to the cause of traditional Islamic education in the West.

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Shaykh Anthony Andrist

Shaykh Anthony Andrist has a BA (CSU, Ohio), CELTA, Permaculture Design Certificate and Permaculture Internship (Permaculture Research Institute). He is familiar with Islamic principles and tradition as well as the modern social challenges of living in the West.

He has studied Islamic sciences abroad under some of today’s most prominent Maliki scholars. He began his journey to Mauritania in 1998 to pursue the study of Islamic knowledge and he lived and studied in the area of Taganit, with Murabit al Hajj bin Fahfou as his head teacher. He also studied with Murabit Muhammad Al-Amin bin al-Shaykh, Murabit Ahmed Fal bin Ahmedna, Shaykh Abdullah bin Ahmedna, Shaykh Al-Sharif Muhammad Zain bin Al-Qasim, and Shaykh Saleck bin Sidine among others.

In Australia, his passion for beekeeping began in 2005. He completed the Pests and Diseases of the Honey Bee course with the NSW DPI, the Natural Beekeeping course with Tim Malfroy, and has written about and taught courses in natural and responsible beekeeping. He has kept bees at PRI, Eden farms as well as the Hornsby region. In 2009 he completed his Permaculture Design Course with Bill Mollison and Geoff Lawton and also completed an internship at PRI.

He is currently pursuing a Masters of Research in Anthropology at Macquarie University and is devoted to supporting and advocating sustainable community programs in Mauritania.

Leading The Ummah: The Leadership Of The Prophet (PBUH)

The Prophet (PBUH) is reported to have said, “It is better for a leader to make a mistake in forgiving than to make a mistake in punishing.” (Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 1011)

There has never been and will never be a leader more influential nor more powerful than the Prophet (PBUH), although at times Muslims tend to forget the principles and values that framed said leadership.

In this session, Shaykha Safia will outline the key elements to the Prophets (PBUH) leadership, its impacts and what Muslims should take heed of and learn from in contemporary times.

Speaker: Shaykha Safia Shahid
Host: Widyan Fares
Location: Main Hall
Time: 2:00PM – 3:00PM

Location: Main Hall
2:00PM  -  3:00PM
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Shaykha Safia Shahid

Shaykha Safia Shahid is a leading scholar embodying a rich tradition and history of female scholarship. Born and raised in Glasgow, Shaykha Safia Shahid travelled to Syria in 2003 to study sacred knowledge. She stayed there for five years, studying Arabic at the University of Damascus and the Abu Nour Institute. Shaykha Safia attended the classes of several illustrious scholars of our time, such as Shaykh Adnan Darwish and received ijaza (license) to teach tajwid from Shaykh Abul Hassan Al-Kurdi. She also benefited from the company of great gnostics such as Shaykh Ahmad al-Habbal and Shaykh Shukri al-Luhafi.

She studied numerous texts under the tutelage of the great erudite scholar, Al-Sayyid Shaykh Muhammad al-Yaqoubi, and was granted ijaza in major books of hadith. She had the great honour of accompanying Shaykh Muhammad, exposing her to an abundance of knowledge, light and wisdom.

Iman, Islam and Ihsan: The Prophetic Model of Piety

This session will seek to address one of the most challenging questions facing the Muslim community in Australia: How do we respond to hatred? Considering the rise of far-right politics, vitriolic public discourse and aspects of wider public opinion being turned against the Muslim community, it becomes essential for us, as a community, to both understand the roots of this hatred and to know how to respond appropriately and counter it. In this situation, as with any other issues facing Muslims, we turn to our Prophet (PBUH), to guide and facilitate the Islamic response, one that balances our responsibilities, rights and vision for our community.

Speaker: Dr Shadee Elmasry
Host: Widyan Fares
Location: Main Hall
Time: 3:00PM – 4:00PM

3:00PM  -  4:00PM
dr-shadee

Dr Shadee Elmasry

Dr Shadee Elmasry was born and raised in New Jersey. He began studying the traditional sciences at 18 after a summer in Fes, Morocco. Since then he has studied all over the world including Hadramawt (Yemen), Mecca and Madina (Saudi Arabia), London (UK), Cairo (Egypt) and New Jersey (U.S.) under several luminaries of our time.

He graduated with a B.A. from Rutgers University in New Jersey in sociology, religions, and philosophy and went on to receive his Masters from The George Washington University with a thesis on Sayyid Muhammad Alawi al-Maliki under the supervision of Professor Seyyed Hossein Nasr.

Dr Elmasry received his Ph.D from the University of London in February 2007. His thesis was entitled Dawa in the Works of Imam Abd Allah bin Alawi al-Haddad. His articles have been published by the Routelege Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs (September 2010) as well as the Zaytuna Seasons Journal (Autumn 2007).

Dr Elmasry has taught at several universities including Yale University, University of London SOAS, Trinity College, Hartford Seminary and Manhattanville College.

Currently, Dr Elmasry has found his way back home as Scholar in Residence and Director of Education and Community Affairs at the New Brunswick Islamic Center in New Jersey. He is also the founder and head of Safina Society, an institution dedicated to the cause of traditional Islamic education in the West.

Peace Be Upon Him: The Vital Importance Of The Prophet To Our Time

“O Prophet, truly We have sent thee as a Witness, and a Bearer of glad tidings, and a Warner…” Chapter 33:46.

We live in a time where the relevance of the Prophet (PBUH) and his Sunnah is constantly called into question. On the political stage, amongst different cultures and amid social hierarchies, the importance and power of the Sunnah is vital to the continued growth of the global Muslim community.

Here, we invite Imam Zaid to share with us his understanding of the Sunnah and the crucial and critical role it plays on the modern Muslim experience.

Speaker: Imam Zaid Shakir
Host: Widyan Fares
Location: Main Hall
Time: 4:30PM – 5:30PM

4:30PM  -  5:30PM
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Imam Zaid Shakir

Ranked as one of America’s most influential scholars in the West by The 500 Most Influential Muslims and described by the New York Times as a leading intellectual Light, Imam Zaid Shakir has been guiding our hearts and minds with knowledge and wisdom for the past two decades. If you could combine the agility, prose and humour of Muhammad Ali and the intellectual rigour of Malcom X, you might get some sense of who Imam Zaid is.

As someone who came to age during the civil rights struggles, Imam Zaid has brought both sensitivity about race and poverty and scholarly discipline to his faith-based work. A gentleman, scholar, author, and educationalist, Imam Zaid is truly the embodiment of the very best of our tradition. His rigorous analysis and keen insight make his commentaries on topical affairs widely read and discussed.

While Imam Zaid is the co-founder and senior faculty member at Zaytuna College, based in Berkley, he is also the co-founder of the Lighthouse mosque in Oakland, California and United for Change, whose mission is to create awareness of the broadest and most consuming topics within the Muslim community. United for Change aims to leverage the diversity that exists within the Muslim community through cooperation and goodwill to address the obstacles that have proven to be divisive.

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Venue /

rosehill

Rosehill Gardens Pavillion, Parramatta

The Grand Pavillion is an enormous purpose-built convention centre capable of seating 2,000 people.

Rosehill Gardens Event Centre
James Ruse Dr, Rosehill NSW 2142, Australia
australianturfclub.com.au
(02) 9930 4070

Highlights /