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FIMO aims to dispel misconceptions about India’s various cultural faiths
Inclusion was the buzzword as the Federation of Indian Origin Multi-faith Organisation (FIMO) launched an Indian Interfaith Guide at Museum India, Dandenong, recently. The guide was launched in alignment with FIMO’s objective of fostering interaction and harmony between Indian Victorians irrespective of their religious or regional backgrounds.
The Victorian Government’s Office of Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship funded guide includes information about diverse Indian faiths, their social norms and practices. The guide will be promoted and utilised by mainstream courts, religious sectors, police and other services and is aimed at educating and benefiting wider Australian society.
It is expected the guide will proactively dispel misconceptions about cultures by raising awareness of various Indian faiths including Jainism, Islam, Sikhism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism and more.
The launch was held at Museum India amidst an eclectic collection of paintings, etchings, photographs and sculptures depicting the rich heritage of the nation of India and its people.
The event was well attended by representatives of local government organisations, members of the Indian Consulate, various faith leaders and community organisations. Dandenong Mayor Heang Tak, Member for Dandenong Gabrielle Williams and Member for Kew Tim Smith were among those who officially launched the guide.
The founder of FIMO and current chairperson of CIAA (Confederation of Indian Australian Association Inc.) Vasan Srinivasan conducted the proceedings. He availed of every opportunity to seek assistance and funding from the politicians for FIMO’s future projects and the ‘much needed’ upgrade of Museum India.
According to Gabrielle Williams MP, the guide is a valuable tool that is practical, pragmatic contribution to creating harmony and a sense of understanding in Victoria and will be significant in fostering a healthy and vibrant Victoria.
Dr Seham Muhsen Ali al-Shwayli, from FIMO’s Multi-Faith Reference Committee, urged the audience to take time to understand and respect the unique values and customs of other faiths in order to further and sustain a harmonious, multi faith society.
Networking continued over dinner that was served in a marquee beside the Museum. During the course of the evening, Bayswater MP Heidi Victoria received many compliments on her choice of attire, as she sported a vibrant, traditional Indian outfit.
The overarching message from the various speakers at the event was to congratulate FIMO for their initiative in creating a multi faith dialogue in Australia where religious, cultural and ethnic diversity is constantly increasing. They all concurred on the importance of collaborative working across various faiths.
According to FIMO President Paramjit Jaswal, this launch was just the start. FIMO will continue to be involved in more initiatives that address community issues with the support of Multicultural Services, Government and non-government bodies.