Foad Munir, Qaid Majlis Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
A first of its kind “True Islam Exhibition” was held in Brisbane Square Library in Queensland, Australia on 8 January 2022.
This one-day exhibition was the result of almost three months of work which included planning, finding the right venue for the exhibition, and getting all the content printed and ready in time. A team was formed, which was led by Mohammad Atae Rabbi Sahib, a missionary.
After finding a few central venues close to the city centre, Brisbane Square Library was chosen for the exhibition as it is located conveniently in the city centre and is a thoroughfare for people visiting the nearby shopping centres.
The library itself is quite new and has great facilities and gets busy over the weekends. The community room for the exhibition is on the ground floor of the library and all visitors to the library go past this room to access other facilities within the library.
Booking a room was quite tricky at first as the library liaison insisted their policies did not allow such content to be displayed. However, after a few more discussions clarifying the goal of the exhibition and that no promotion was needed by the library, by the grace of Allah, we were successful in getting permission to set up our exhibition.
Once the date was set, Jamaat Queensland had a target to get everything prepared in time. “The True Islam Exhibition” which had 13 banners, was printed on pull-up banners 2m high and 1m wide. Each banner addressed one topic, some of these were:
• Islam’s message of peace is universal
• Oneness of God
• Equality of women
• Equality of all races and nationalities
• People should have fundamental freedoms
• Our Jihad is of mercy and compassion
Nine copies of the Holy Quran in multiple translations were selected based on the popular languages of Brisbane residents and were showcased on stands. Moreover, two books, The Philosophy of the teachings of Islam and The Great Western Revival were also put on display along with posters for each book introducing them to the public.
The event was promoted on Facebook and Instagram through multiple accounts of the community. Queensland has had enormous success in eliminating Covid-19 from society since the pandemic began and people’s lifestyle here hadn’t been affected much, however, due to the recent relaxations in restrictions, a new Covid-19 wave started which caused a lot of people to stop their usual day-to-day activities.
This caused the attendance for the exhibition to be low and the library which is usually full and bustling with people on the weekends was almost empty. A total of seven guests still came to see the exhibition and the interactions with them were positive, detailed and productive.
Positive feedback was received from everyone in attendance about how educational the event had been for them and one guest, Peter, remarked:
“When you are presenting this sort of information openly and in a welcoming way, it can only help to put people at ease with Islam.”
So, whilst the turnout was low, the quality of interactions was high and insha-Allah, by starting promotion early and with the public getting more used to living with Covid-19, we will have more success in the future.