Last night during his first Iftar dinner for Ramadan as prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull has urged unity with Muslims in face of terror attacks following the Orlando massacre.
Guests at the Ramadan dinner at Kirribilli House included The Project host Waleed Aly and his wife Susan Carland, head of the Australian Multicultural Foundation Hass Dellal, Muslim community leader Dr Jamal Rifi, and Reverend Glenn Davies, Archbishop of Sydney.
Iftar is the meal eaten by Muslims after the day’s fast, traditionally eaten after the sun sets.
Turnbull – who is the first Prime Minister to host such an event - said in front of the 60 guests: “The aim of extremists including those committing violence through a warped and nihilist interpretation of religion is to divide us and to turn our citizens against each other — but we will not let them win.”
“Acts of terror like Sunday’s massacre in Orlando are perpetrated to divide us along lines of race, religion, sect and sexuality — but that kind of hatred and division must not prevail.
He continued: “We must stand together like we do tonight as one Australian family united against terrorism, racism, discrimination and violence.”
But the night is being overshadowed by the presence of Islamic preacher Sheik Shady Al-Suleiman at the event, who has previously spoken out against the gay community. He has called AIDS a “divine punishment” and wants women who have sex out of wed-lock to be stoned to death.
Turnbull, however, condemned Al-Suleiman’s views, telling the Herald Sun: “Views like this are wrong, unacceptable and I condemn them.”
“Mutual respect is the key to the success of our diverse, tolerant, multicultural society.”