The monthly Sunday barbecue at Penshurst Mosque in Sydney is a time when the Australian Muslim community gets together to celebrate their traditions, friendship, and food, The Leader reported.
“Our mosque received many messages of support including flowers and cards and messages on Facebook after Christchurch Massacre,” explained the mosque’s Bosnian imam, Ensar Cutahija.
“There were even several donations from the British public towards the mosque’s fund to build an extension and minaret. The monthly barbecues were started when the mosque wanted to invite the community in to talk about its plans to expand.”
50 Muslim worshippers were killed in March 15 attacks targeting Al Noor and Linwood mosques in Christchurch.
During the latest barbecue of the mosque, Muslims thanked the community for their support following the terrorist attack in Christchurch.
Congregation member, Enes Topalovic who is president of the Australian Islamic Society of Bosnia said: “We had introduced an annual open mosque day, inviting all Australians to ‘experience the cultural atmosphere of Penshurst mosque and to meet the members of our congregation.”
He continued that “We believe this day helps the community better understand our culture. It’s a benefit picnic for the community. It is so people can benefit by getting together and getting to know each other more. Friendship and food are plentiful.”
The barbecue’s menu includes Bosnian Cevapi, a combination of minced lamb and beef with special spices. There’re also two roast lambs on a spit and traditional Bosnian cakes and desserts.
The members of the Bosnian Women’s Association each makes a cake or dessert for the day and all the money raised goes to needy people, Muslim and non-Muslim.
Topalovic said: “This keeps the community together and that’s another benefit. At the end of the day we make God happy for getting together in God’s house. At all times we would be happy to welcome our neighbors.”
The Muslim leader also expressed that: “It’s a benefit to us and to the people who come to visit us. After people talk to a Muslim, they have a better understanding and they express their wish to come back and spend some time with us. They realize we’ve the same life battles as everyone else.”
“We’d like to thank all our neighbors for expressing their sorrow and support after the Islamophobic terror in New Zealand. We want to thank them for their cards and flowers and their words of comfort. Penshurst Mosque would like to invite all our neighbors to our monthly community benefit picnic which is held the last Sunday every month,” he concluded.
According to the 2016 Australian Census, the combined number of people who self-identified as Muslim in Australia, from all forms of Islam, constituted 604,200 people, or 2.6% of the total Australian population, an increase of over 15% of its previous population share of 2.2% reported in the previous census five years.