AFIC's 55th Annual Congress 2019

On Saturday, 22 June 2019, 55th Annual Congress Dinner of the AFIC was held at the Stamford Hotel Sydney Airport. This event was attended by leading Religious and Community leaders, Scholars, Members of Parliament, Mayors, Diplomats and prominent personalities from all over Australia. Kazim Ates of Melbourne was MC of the Evening.

The program started with the Quran Recitation followed by the President of AFIC Dr Rateb Jneid who welcomed all guests, including Federal Minister of Immigration Hon. David Coleman, Shadow Federal Minister Hon. Tony Burke, Member of Lakemba Hon. Jihad Dib, Member of Auburn Hon. Lynda Jane Voltz, Ambassador H.E. Izzat Abdul Hadi and other guests.

Dr Rateb Jneid President of AFIC

Some of the VIP Guests

Member of Lakemba, Jihad Mib

Federal MP Hon. Tony Burke

Ambassador H.E. Izzat Abdul Hadi

Prof. David Taylor (WA)

Sheikh Yahya Safi

Sheikh Shady Suleiman

MC. Kazim Ates (Melb)

Dua Prayer by Sheikh Riad El-Rifai (SA)

Minister of Immigration Hon. David Coleman

Dr Rateb Jneid President of AFIC

Transcript of Dr Rateb Jneid, the President of AFIC’s Speech.

In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful and the Most Beneficent.
All thanks are due to Allah (SWT), the Lord of the worlds, and peace and prayers are upon His messenger Mohammed (SAW).
Distinguished Religious & Community Leaders, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Assalaamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakhatuh

I would like to start by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land upon which we are meeting tonight and pay my respects to their elders past and present.
It is my great privilege and pleasure to welcome you to the Muslims Australia – AFIC 55th Congress Dinner. This is the second Congress for my Board and I - and I am extremely pleased at the changes that have taken place in AFIC in the last 2 years.

  • All court cases, including with MFIS, have been completely resolved and closed.
  • We have a financial plan, approved by the bank, that will see AFIC debt free in under 5 years AFIC paid $1.4M off its debt in the last 12 months.
  • The ACNC have formally written to AFIC advising that they are satisfied with our new governance processes and systems and have given us a clean bill of health.

It is now time to turn our faces forward. While we must keep the past in mind, to make sure we do not allow that to happen again, we now need to focus on the future and look to implement those plans and strategies that out community needs.

We want AFIC to once again take up its role as the Peak representative body for our community from an advocacy and Policy perspective. Our community needs, and has suffered from the absence of, a national voice on those issues that are important to us. We have started this work as well. In the last 12 months we have taken strong public positions on a number of issues including:


  • The conflicts in various countries that impact on Muslims
  • Family Violence
  • Islamophobia
  • There is more on those in the Annual Report itself

We want to prioritize programs of work that bring direct benefit to our community. Our State & Territory Councils, and member societies, do fantastic work on the ground but there are issues which affect the community as a whole and which need a level of support that is difficult for grass roots organisations to provide. This is where a national body such as AFIC can, and should, play a role.

As we continue the financial reforms we are undertaking one of our principles will be to allocate resources for these key projects. Of course that means that we first need to understand what the requirement is and where the gaps are – where there is someone already providing a service but can do it better or reach more people, then we will support them; where there is a complete gap then we will develop strategies to fill those. Our role as the peak body should be to build capacity within our community to make these types of programs sustainable Insha’Allah.

As I said, these are just some high level thoughts on the future and we will engage with you all as we build the formal strategy over the next 12 months.
By the grace of Allah Almighty I am humbled to have taken on the role of President. I acknowledge the enormous responsibility this position entails, and ask Allah (swt) for strength and guidance to address all the challenges through continuous consultation and to ensure we manage the affairs of AFIC, for the benefit of the community, to the best of our abilities, Insha’Allah.

I want to thank my committee members, our State Councils, their Presidents and Committees, friends and well-wishers who so graciously provide their counsel and advice.
I have a final thank you to make and that is to the families of all of those who are involved in community work. While we are volunteers these roles are almost full-time jobs and in the last year I have had to spend a long time away from my home and family in Perth and I could not have done that without the support of my family but in particular my wife. Community work is a partnership and without her support I would not have the time to do this role. To my wife, and the partners of all those involved in community work, I want to say thank you.

May Allah Almighty accept our efforts and our pledge to the Muslims of Australia to achieve important goals, be open and representative and be accountable in the provision of services to the Community

AFIC's 55th Annual Congress Dinner Photo Gallery