Plan attracts families to Lakemba

Courtesy of The Torch - 29/7/2009

Plan attracts families to Lakemba

torch_29072009_ramadanImage: Canterbury Deputy Mayor Karl Saleh tastes some of the sweets at Patisserie Arja in Lakemba, ahead of the fasting month of Ramadan. Pictured with Nazmi Arja, who will benefit from longer trading hours during the holy Islamic month Lakemba, home to one of Australia’s largest Muslim populations, will receive more than $7000 for Ramadan activities to celebrate the holy Islamic month of fasting.

The Lakemba Chamber of Commerce requested assistance and financial support from Canterbury Council to attract families to Lakemba during Ramadan, from August 22 to September 21.

Council will provide up to $7500 for street decorations, additional outdoor seating, extra street cleaning and more bins.

An area along Haldon Street will be defined as a ‘Special Event Precinct’ during that time, where it is expected Muslim families from all over Sydney will come to break their fast at sunset.

According to data collected in 2006, almost half of Lakemba’s population are of Islamic faith – 42 per cent, higher than neighbouring suburbs Greenacre, 30.7 per cent, and Punch bowl, 25.9 per cent.

Deputy Mayor of Canterbury Councillor Karl Saleh welcomed the funding.

“By adopting this motion I think Canterbury Council has not only become the first council in the state of NSW to adopt such a motion to support the celebration of the holy month of Ramadan, but it is also acknowledging and celebrating diversity and tradition of the city of Canterbury, which allows us of whatever faith, to meet together in harmony and goodwill,” Cr Saleh said.

Omar Yassine, President of the Lakemba Chamber of Commerce, thanked the council for their support.

“We believe such partnerships are very important to improve our town centre and provide a stronger voice for the shopkeepers and the community of Lakemba at large,” he said.

“Lakemba is a symbol of interfaith and harmony in the city of Canterbury … By moving this proposal we aim to attract families to Lakemba during this period, have local restaurants and shops open later and attract customers up until 11 pm.”