In April this year the Canberra Islamic Centre in Monash in my electorate was the victim of mindless and malicious violence that caused tens of thousands of dollars worth of damage. To show that the Canberra community has zero tolerance for hate and malice, I called out to Canberrans to help clean up the centre.
About a week after that violent act the response from Canberrans was just extraordinary, with hundreds of people of all ages and from all walks of life turning out with buckets, brooms, mops and rolled up sleeves to help clean up the mess.
On Saturday, to coincide with National Mosque Open Day, the centre opened its doors to Canberrans to show its support and to thank Canberrans for their enormous show of support and understanding in April. The event was attended by a great many community leaders, including the imam; the Archbishop of Canberra and Goulburn; the Principal of St Mary MacKillop College, Michael Lee; and the US ambassador, who presented an oak tree grown from an acorn from a tree planted by Eleanor Roosevelt when the embassy was opened during the Second World War. I was also honoured to accept an award on behalf of all the Canberrans who united against violence and showed that the intolerant will not divide us and that they will not define us.