[DRUM MUSIC PLAYING]
Muslims are not just Malays. Muslims are not just Arabic, not just Lebanese. All Muslims are not just Somalians.
Muslims come from all different countries in the world. And so it was sort of like a multicultural festival.
They really wanted to show that wonderful minestrone of colours and cultures and everybody coming together for this one day. I'm a Muslim and have been for 23 years. I'm also a member of the Australian Federal Police Community Liaison Team.
On the day of the festival, we did a community mosaic, and it was lovely to have people who were not Muslim come up and look at the glass and look at the tile that we had on display and ask questions about it. To me, mosaic is very much symbolic of Australia. It is a whole lot of little people and little colours all coming together to create the big picture.
On the day of the festival, I was with my Chantique team, practicing henna. Different cultures have different designs. Indians, they are more floral. Somali's more strokes, more bold designs. We're from different, different culture, but we come together as one under Islamic history, Islamic art, and henna is part of it.
I'd never done a fashion parade, as such. This was my first one. I mainly do styling, so styling headpieces and also hijab-ifying outfits. Wearing a head scarf is something that's part of my religion. But then at the same time, there's no real dictates about what colour it should be or how long or how short and things like that. It's more than just the fashion. It's really about empowering Muslim women and showing the world, as well, that there's more to a person than just the fabric that they're wearing on their head.
Being on the steering committee, I think it was at least two months prior that we started meeting and talking. And everybody who was on the steering committee had a forte in something. We really wanted it to be a celebration of Melbourne's very vibrant, culturally diverse community.
We had to guest speakers upstairs presenting about Islamic fashion, musicians trying different types of Persian music. We had Islamic halal food, slam poetry.
There was spoken word, and I had someone tell me that they had started crying during it because that's how emotional it was. It was a poem about someone's mother.
Look at me, Mama. Built like the brick walls you broke through. Climb on my back, Mama.
And I have started filling rooms with pink flowers, yellow curtains, red crochets--
Things lost are never asked--
And there was a handsome black horse who swore at the prophet of love, and coarse mane, all its sorrow.
It was just such a proud moment for me to be part of this, because it's celebrating not only my religious beliefs
But also just being an Australian and being a part of the community. I really felt like they were entwined in this event.
It was really lovely to see that air of excitement, but also an air of acceptance. Because people who are Muslim don't want to be tolerated. They want to be accepted. And for me, there was a really lovely vibe, on the day, of acceptance. And that's what it's all about.