Since I founded Minaret College in 1992 as the first Islamic School in the South-East region of Melbourne, my team and I have committed ourselves to serve the Muslim community in our region and take an active part in the Australian community at large as Muslim Australians.
Minaret College has faced many challenges since its inception, however in the past 13 years, the challenges have grown, since the world has witnessed an unprecedented wave of extremist ideologies, religious misunderstanding, intolerance, and random violence, with Muslims around the world at the centre of the debate. The school prides itself in teaching students the core values of the Islamic faith that highlight a peaceful interaction with the wider community.
As Australian Muslim educators, we have committed ourselves to train and prepare our Minaret College graduates to become leaders with the right set of mental attitude and thinking patterns relevant to the current norms and practices of the Australian society at large, with the ability to lead within their respective communities.
Our educational philosophy is implemented within a specific context in the school as follows:
- Focus on helping the students and their families to understand how to live together peacefully and productively with others;
- Share experiences and knowledge with other cultures among the Australian community;
- Promote a spirit of tolerant inquiry about diverse faiths through extensive participation in Interfaith dialogue nationally and internationally;
- Share ways of learning and living to cultivate community togetherness;
- Support students by training them to understand other people’s ideas and be accepting of their way of life;
- Provide students with the opportunity to take risks, suspend to some degree their critical attitudes and learn new modes of thinking and communicating;
- Train students to acquire interfaith and intercultural knowledge and leadership skills;
- Enable students to develop and sustain relationships with others whose histories and practices differ significantly from their own; and
- Commit to live in harmony with all members of the Australian community, to close the door to extremist ideas and violence towards people who share different beliefs.
These efforts were recorded in our latest publication: “Standing Tall”, which traces the successful history of the school and its growth since it was established in 1992. Minaret College also published a book about the history of the first Muslims in Australia - Afghan Cameleers - with their incredible legacy of exploration, transport and development of outback Australia.
In this current climate, I believe that we need to focus our efforts on training our community in making conscious decisions to support and protect each other, and stand firm as a united, democratic, multi-cultural and multifaith country, in which the rights of each and every individual are upheld by all.
Mr. Mohamed A. Hassan, OAM