Multicultural youth celebrate the end of Ramadan in South Australia
Many South Australian Muslims have been observing the holy month of Ramadan, including many young South Australians.
Chairman of the South Australian Multicultural and Ethnic Affairs Commission (SAMEAC), Mr Hieu Van Le AO says it is wonderful to see South Australia's rich history of cultural diversity continuing in the next generation.
"In the late 1800s many Muslim men, known as cameleers, came to South Australia with their camels to carry food and supplies to the construction teams of the Overland Telegraph Line in Central Australia," Mr Le said.
"These cameleers shared their culture and religion with the community and as a result, South Australia is home to Australia's oldest mosque, built in 1861 at Marree, which was once considered the country's most important camel junction.
"South Australia's establishment as a new colony made it attractive for those seeking religious freedom.
"South Australia has long been a refuge for people of many backgrounds looking for peace and freedom.
"In the 1900s there were 33 places of worship within one square mile of the city.
"South Australia's forefathers were committed to giving all faiths a fair go, which may be the origin of Adelaide's reputation as the City of Churches.
"I am very proud of South Australia's history as an inclusive and religiously diverse multicultural society," Mr Le said.
"This proud history is continuing with the next generation of multicultural youth in South Australia.
Three South Australian youth have spoken about their celebration of the end of Ramadan, known as Eid al-Fitr.
Manal Younus, 18, from Eritrea, says that Ramadan has a special meaning to her.
"I feel very lucky to be able to celebrate my faith freely in South Australia.
"I look forward to celebrating Eid al-Fitr with an early morning visit to my mosque and spending time with my family and friends," Manal said.
Sandra Elhelw, 22, born in Whyalla, with Egyptian heritage, says that she looks forward to spending time with her family.
"I will be celebrating Eid al-Fitr with a special feast at my family's home, it is a time to reflect on how blessed we are to live in a free and peaceful county, have a lovely home and enough food to eat, and to help those less fortunate than ourselves," Sandra said.
Mohammad Al-Khafaji, 24, from Iraq, sends good wishes to all those celebrating the end of Ramadan, with a traditional greeting, "Eid Mubarak", meaning "may you have a blessed Eid".
Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic lunar calendar and fasting in this month is one of the five pillars of Islam. This year, Ramadan falls between Tuesday, 9 July and Thursday, 8 August in Australia.
This is a special time for the Muslim community as Muslims worldwide fast from dawn to sunset, strengthening their relationship with God through prayer and good deeds and aiming to achieve greater self-discipline and compassion for those less fortunate.
There are over 500,000 Muslims in Australia, from over 70 countries including Europe, North and South America, Africa and Asia.
In South Australia, there are more than 19,500 people who identified as Muslim in the 2011 Census. Of these, more than 7% migrated to Australia 20 or more years ago.
The majority (21%) of all South Australian Muslims were born in Australia with the next two most common countries of birth being Afghanistan (16%) and Pakistan (6%).
Other countries of birth include Malaysia, Fiji, Egypt and Germany.
"It is interesting to note that the second and third most common birthplaces of Muslims in South Australia are the same birthplaces as the cameleers who came to South Australia all those years ago," Mr Le said.
"South Australia has a long history as a welcoming and inclusive multicultural community that is continuing today."