Imam Alaa Elzokm OAM
As a leader in our community, Imam Alaa Elzokm OAM believes the greatest impact of his work is in establishing and participating in peaceful and cohesive relationships between the Australian Muslim community and the wider Australian community.
“Particularly the youth,” he says. “My message to all young people is to focus on respect and compassion towards all people, regardless of their culture or religion.”
“I believe my work also contributes to the establishment of harmony, brotherhood, and sisterhood within the multicultural and multi-faith communities by highlighting our similarities and shared values.”
Recognised for his service to the Islamic faith, and to multiculturalism, Imam Alaa says he is motivated to overcome misconceptions spread among members of the community about both Muslims and non-Muslims and observes that often these misconceptions are held by youth, or by elders.
“Either group may not have access to valid information or may find themselves exposed to information from the wrong sources. Furthermore, a lack of awareness and understanding can also contribute to, and at times, exacerbate these misconceptions.”
Imam Alaa says it is therefore important for multicultural and multi-faith communities to sit together. “We need to strive towards open communication with one another and ask questions to be better informed about aspects of life that you have little knowledge about. Seek to better understand others and be open to others in the hope that they may get to know you better too.”
He says the award of the Medal of the Order of Australia is particularly special for him as a young Muslim Imam (religious leader) and also as a migrant.
“It shows that being from overseas, young and Muslim does not make it impossible to excel and make positive contributions to the Australian community. I hope my work sets an example for others to do their best and never be deterred by any challenge. Those who seek success will find it if they strive. I pray that it inspires others, particularly the youth from the Muslim community.”
He gives thanks his family, “Especially my parents, and my wife who works particularly hard behind the scenes, and the Muslim Community in Australia for supporting me in my journey of spreading this message of harmony and peaceful coexistence.”