The U.S. embassy in Canberra and the consulates in Melbourne, Perth, and Sydney regularly engaged a wide range of religious leaders, communities, and groups.
Consulate general Sydney maintained close relations with the city’s large Jewish community and established a presence with several religious schools, including in Western Sydney, where many Muslims reside and attend school.
During the year, the consul general in Perth met leaders of the city’s diverse Muslim community organizations and representatives of Muslim organizations in Western Australia.
Building on the momentum provided by last year’s visit of the Department of State special representative for Muslim outreach, the consulate general in Melbourne brought speakers to schools in predominantly Muslim areas, partnered with interfaith and multicultural groups in a public commemoration of September 11, and participated in the launch of the Islamic Council of Victoria’s office for women. The consulate also facilitated connections between Muslim communities and other organizations, such as the Australian Rules Football League, to partner with young Muslim women to introduce athletics into new areas.
The embassy and consulates also promoted religious freedom by sponsoring and participating in events with religious leaders. Embassy Canberra hosted leaders of various faith-based communities at its September 11 commemoration. Embassy Canberra also hosted quarterly events that brought together Canberra youth from a variety of backgrounds and religions to discuss informally contemporary problems. Embassy Canberra officers participated in Canberra’s largest and highest profile iftar event. Consulate general Sydney hosted a large interfaith iftar dinner. Consulate Sydney officers attended an iftar dinner hosted by the Affinity Intercultural Foundation at the New South Wales State Parliament building.
In November consulate general Perth hosted more than 60 guests at its annual interfaith reception. Guests included representatives from the Muslim, Roman Catholic, Hindu, Christian, and Bahai communities, as well as academics. The event’s theme was the incompatibility of violent extremism with all faiths. During the year, the consulate hosted quarterly events that brought together Western Australia’s youth from a variety of backgrounds and religious groups for informal discussions of contemporary problems.
The consulate general in Melbourne actively engaged with Muslim communities in the Melbourne area, especially during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. The consulate general hosted an iftar dinner, which brought together youth leaders from the media, sports, business, and faith communities. In addition to hosting the annual iftar dinner, the consul general attended several iftar events hosted by a university, the Victorian State Parliament, and local business councils. Consulate staff attended small iftar events at local residences as well as larger events hosted by civic and political organizations and held in the country’s multicultural tradition of celebrating cultural diversity.
Through exchange programs, the embassy and consulates have sent several influential Muslim leaders to the United States.