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iERA Go Down Under!

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iERAs whirlwind tour of Australia in September 2018 took in in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth with a myriad of activities including open-air lectures, academic debates, keynote speeches, dawah training courses, outreach activities, strategic meetings with leading Australian organisations and much much more. The trip also resulted in iERA hiring an Outreach Specialist that will continue to convey the call – advancing the Prophetic Mission across Australasia.

The activities in Sydney on kicked off on Wednesday 19th September 2018 with iERA team assisting the Sydney University Muslim Students’ Association (SUMSA) as part of their Islam Awareness Week with their dawah stall and with an open-air lecture by iERA Media Manager Jamaal Richards about his personal journey to Islam. Keen to continue the story, Jamaal was approached by three students of the University of Sydney who were Christian to discuss further his journey from Christianity to Islam. Jamaal steered the conversation through iERAs GORAP dawah conversation framework focusing on purely worshipping God directly as opposed to worshipping God through Jesus. The discussion came to a close with a seed planted in their hearts along with some tasty doughnuts.

That evening, Jamaal gave a talk in Madinah Masjid in Chipping Norton, Sydney, again, based on his journey to Islam. In the Q&A section, he engaged in discussion with a local brother with regards to giving dawah to his aggressive neighbours where Jamaal highlighted the essential qualities a caller to Islam must have to the brother.

The following evening, iERA Outreach Specialist Subboor Ahmad engaged in an academic discussion and debate at the University of Sydney on the topic of Evolution. Unbeknownst to the audience, Subboor was nursing significant jet lag from a seven-country tour of Central America!

Notwithstanding that, Subbor followed up his debate by delivering iERAs renowned dawah training course at the University of Sydney where he covered how to articulate an intelligent and compassionate case for Islam using iERAs GORAP dawah conversation framework.

Following the class, the attendees donned iERAs iconic ‘Conveying the Call’ t-shirts in Australian Yellow and took part in outreach activities on the Sydney Harbour, across from the famous Sydney Opera House. The attendees put into practice what they had learnt in the class earlier that morning by engaging in intelligent discussions about the existential nature of life. The outreach activity was well received by the members of the public who were happy to take iERAs brand new booklets: ‘Making Sense of God’, ‘Life after Life’, and ‘The Last Messenger’.

With no time to rest, the iERA team boarded a flight to Melbourne in preparation for the sold-out conference “Losing My Religion; Confronting the Challenges Facing Our Islam” at the University of Melbourne which had over 700 attendees registered on Sunday 23rd September 2018.

At the oversubscribed conference, iERAs Global Outreach Manager Salahuddin Patel delivered a talk entitled ‘The Foundations of Islamic Belief’. In it, he explained that firm foundations of Islam can be established using the ‘GORAP methodology’ with intelligence, reason and rationality despite living secular societies that are disconnected from God. He also shared how this also helped him in his journey from Hinduism to Islam. Subboor Ahmad delivered an engaging panel discussion on ‘Islam + Science + Understanding & Answering Evolution’.

Abdullah Hamami who was the organiser and Master of Ceremonies (MC) for the ‘Losing My Religion’ conference commented that “The conference really bought much-needed focus on an issue that desperately needs more attention. I felt like I could really relate with what was presented. Especially the story of Salahuddin’s intellectual and spiritual journey in coming to Islam. As a revert, it really struck a chord with me, and I think these stories need to be shared more to inspire others. Br. Subboor’s presentation on the topic of evolution also really opened my eyes too. It’s not something I know much about and have often taken for granted, but there’s clearly more to the subject that Muslims must unpack and recognise. Overall, a very engaging conference and I hope we see more work bringing young Muslims together like this inshaAllah!”

Following on from the conference, the iERA team stayed to deliver additional lectures and a dawah training course to another sold-out audience at the University of Melbourne and a lecture on ‘Islam, Evolution & Darwinism’ at Monash University in Melbourne.

Abdullah Hamami commented again “Wow, that really got me thinking, alhamdulillah! [The GORAP is] such a clever method of giving dawah, mashaAllah. Such a systematic but concise way to explain things by bringing them all back to fundamentals. I definitely need more practice, but this gave me a much needed and new outlook and confidence on dawah.”

Back in Sydney, Salahuddin Patel delivered the third and final iERA dawah training course of the trip on Saturday the 29th of September, this time for the organisation, United Muslims of Australia (UMA). The organisation is headed up by Sheikh Shady Alsuleiman who is also the president of the Australian National Imams Council.

The attendees quickly grasped iERAs GORAP dawah conversation method with UMA member Bilal Darwich commenting that “the course was a success, but the motivation for dawah was my favourite segment as it came straight from the heart really emphasised the importance of giving dawah.”

The following day, members of UMA and iERA took to the streets of Sydney to put into practice what they learned wearing the iconic iERA Conveying the Call Tshirts so that they could positively engage with the members of the public, articulating a positive case for Islam.

During this trip, we were able to have productive meetings with a range of local, national and international community outreach organisations including with Malaz Majanni – Founder and CEO of the One Path Network, Ustadh Mohammad Noor from Islamic Motivations, Sheikh Salman Parker from Muslims Today who also teaches at Murdoch University. We also met with Sameh Elgawady from Human Appeal and with Muhammad Altaf, the founder of Islam Australia.