Navy's commitment to cultural diversity has never been more apparent than over the weekend of 19-20 October with Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Tim Barrett attending three significant and unique events in Sydney.
Vice Admiral Barrett met with the Grand Mufti of Australia, Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohamed, on Saturday having just visited the Lakemba Mosque with his Strategic Advisor on Islamic Cultural Affairs, Captain Mona Shindy, as part of the Islamic community awareness program.
Discussions between the two leaders covered the broadening Navy's engagement with the Muslim community, including the future development of an Imam Chaplain in Navy, an increased understanding of Islamic Community sensitivities as well as the importance of increased cultural awareness.
Both leaders agreed to a mutual commitment to continue the productive and useful dialogue with the Mufti generously committing to also provide any advice to Navy when needed or requested.
“One of Navy’s signature behaviours is 'respect the contribution of every individual' and I see this as Navy putting those words into practice, taking action to include the best of the breadth of Australian cultures," said Vice Admiral Barrett.
“I am glad to have been able to meet with Dr Ibrahim to discuss Navy’s commitment to being an inclusive organisation.
“Navy operates in many regions around the world with large Muslim populations and in partnership with many navies whose sailors are of the Islamic faith; our ability to engage with them is a mark of professionalism.”
Vice Admiral Barrett started the Saturday by attending a boat naming and blessing ceremony at the Western Sydney Navy Cadet Unit, New Training Ship Australia. The unit’s safety boat ‘Endeavour 01’ was blessed by local religious leader Mr Ahmad Darwish in front a considerable crowd of parents and local community leaders including the Federal Member for Reid, the Hon Craig Laundy MP, and the Local Member for Auburn, Ms Barbara Perry.
Chief of Navy also used the opportunity to promote the Commanding Officer of the unit, Sub Lieutenant Hassan Shindy, to the rank of Lieutenant.
“The Australian Navy Cadets Youth Development Program provides a great basis for teenagers to develop leadership and teamwork skills, and to do so in an atmosphere of fun and adventure.
“The focus of the Australian Navy Cadets is local communities and the young adults who are the future for all of us,” said Vice Admiral Barrett.
During the day Vice Admiral Barrett also had the opportunity to visit Lakemba Mosque. With the mosque open to the public for the day, the visit provided him with the opportunity to learn a little more about the Islamic faith and cultural practices. He also observed regular prayers, prayers for the deceased and had the opportunity to listen in on a community question and answer session.
Imagery is available in the Navy Image Library at http://images.navy.gov.au/S20143197.