Muslim community says thanks

COMMUNITY: About 200 people gathered to celebrate Bendigo's diversity on Saturday night. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

COMMUNITY: About 200 people gathered to celebrate Bendigo's diversity on Saturday night. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

BENDIGO'S Muslim community hosted a vibrant celebration on Saturday night to thank the broader community for its support for the mosque.

Local and state politicians, police, businesspeople and faith leaders gathered at the All Seasons Hotel to join local Muslims for dinner, speeches and performances.

The event was also celebrating the traditional Muslim festival of Eid - the end of the holy Islamic month of Ramadan.

Bendigo Muslim community spokesman Heri Febriyanto said the event was a way of showing "respect to everyone for their ongoing support for us to build the mosque in Bendigo". 

"It was also to show multiculturalism in Bendigo," Mr Febriyanto said.

City of Greater Bendigo mayor Barry Lyons was among 12 guest speakers for the evening.

"This was the first time that one of the cultures or religions has invited all the others to their celebration," Cr Lyons said.

He said there were representatives in attendance from "just about every faith in the district".

"We had everybody in the one room," Cr Lyons said.

"I just think it’s a show of unity in Bendigo, that it’s an inclusive city," he said.

Member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan said the event was a generous way for the Islamic community to say thank you for the support it had received. Ms Allan also gave an address to guests.

"I just talked about how important it is to remember that Bendigo is a very tolerant and welcoming community and that we have to work hard to make sure that those in leadership roles stand up for those principles when it counts," she said.

Ms Allan said the evening was an appropriate way for the community to come together to celebrate diversity in Bendigo. 

She said Indonesian dancers and martial arts performers provided great entertainment.

"It was pretty clear that the performers were really enjoying themselves and that was quite infectious from an audience perspective."

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