Saturday, March 4, 2017

Australia: Ahmadiyya Muslim Association steps up Clean Up Australia Day efforts

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Association Australia says it is taking on 26 sites for Sunday's Clean Up Australia Day. The group says it is proud of its record - being involved from the first ever Clean Up campaign more than a quarter of a century ago.

Times of Ahmad | News Watch | AU Desk
Source/Credit: SBS Australia
By Sonja Heydeman | March 4, 2017

National President of Ahmadi Youth, Waqas Ahmad says the organisation has been involved in the annual environmental campaign for decades.

He told SBS Radio News that it's a significant event.

"It is a fundamental teaching of Islam - our religion and the practice of the founder of Islam, the Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon Him, who said that cleanliness is part of your faith. So we take up any initiative which involves cleaning of not only ourselves as individuals - our inner-selves and our outer-selves, but also our surroundings, our homes and where we work and then our country at large.

"So we live in a country - Australia - which is a beautiful country. It [the group's involvement] started with this initiative a long time ago and just to keep to our faith and practice the teaching of the Prophet Muhammad, it is a very important part of our faith to take part in this event - not only as Muslims but as Australians."

Waqas Ahmad says 26 sites are being covered this year.

He says that nine sites are in Sydney.

"So Sydney we've expanded quite a lot this year as well. We've had over the last few years, local chapters being set up and have been finding their feet quite strongly. The likes of Parramatta, Campbelltown, Penrith and Castle Hill area, so it's really grown significantly."

Mr Ahmad says he's proud to be supporting the initiative.

"It's an important event - not only as a community but as youth in our calendar year. I've been in Australia since 1995 and I remember my very first Clean Up Day and going back you said we've been involved in this for decades.

"I can tell you we've been involved in this from the very first Clean Up Australia Day which was the Clean Up Harbour day in those days - [the] initiative started by Ian Kiernan. We were the first Muslim community to take part."

'Get outside, pick the litter up'

Twelve-year-old volunteer Jaleel Ahmad is already a seasoned Clean Up participant.

He says he's looking forward to another campaign.

"I've done it many times before. I've been doing it since I was seven-years-old and before that when was in school we used to have mini Clean Up Australia days."

Jaleel says his peers are also enthusiastic to take part.

"I've got friends older than me and they are always excited to have a part in Clean Up Australia and afterwards we have a BBQ and we all play together, so it's great fun."

Mr Ahmad says the event is a chance to connect with people right across the community.

He says it's incredible to see so many people come together, focused on improving their local environments.

"You know we encourage all the youth, Muslim youth and Australian youth at large to take part in this and it's a great initiative. We live in this great country, it's our backyard so the onus is on us to keep our backyard clean and tidy and preserve it for our future generations."

Jaleel echoes those sentiments.

"I'd like to say to everyone, don't just sit at home and leave the litter around. Get outside, pick the litter up, even if it's just on your block, pick some litter up - chuck it in the bin."

Initiative founder Ian Kiernan says this year's event involves hundreds of thousands of volunteers who make Clean Up Australia Day the largest community mobilisation event in the Asia Pacific region.

Read original post here: Australia: Ahmadiyya Muslim Association steps up Clean Up Australia Day efforts

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