A small Muslim community in South Australia has joined public Australia Day celebrations, taking part in traditional rituals including the barbeque lunch.
Adelaide’s Ahmadiyya community has about 550 members from countries including Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Ghana and Sierra Leone.
Many have fled discrimination and violence in Pakistan, where Ahmadis have been declared non-Muslims and have faced rising attacks.
The Ahmadiyya branch is close to Sunni Islam and was founded in the late 19th century.
Today, Adelaide Ahmadis gathered at their mosque at Beverley for a day of festivities.
A recitation of Islamic prayers was followed by a children’s choir singing Advance Australia Fair.
President of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association, Imam Iman Kauser, was among those forced to leave Pakistan.
He said while times had been testing in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attack, he was proud to belong to both the Muslim and the wider Australian communities.
“This is high time we should understand each other,” he said.
“Australia Day is a sign of freedom actually, equality, love and respect … we are very happy we are part of this community.
“Now we’re in this country, we can have our own mosque, we can practise our own religion the way we like it. We are very thankful.”
The event at Beverley was one of about 130 Australia Day celebrations held across the state.
More than 1,500 people became Australian citizens at official ceremonies.