The former Mufti of Australia, late Sheikh Fehmi Imam was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2023 Crescent Awards celebrated on Saturday 19 August in Melbourne, AMUST (Australian Muslim Times) reported on August 31.
The award, in recognition of a lifetime of distinguished service to Islamic schooling and education in Australia, was received by Sheikh Fehmi’s son Ahmed Imam at the event held at Alencia Reception venue in Dandenong South.
It is the highest award and most prestigious honour bestowed upon those who have shaped the foundations, inspired growth, positive change, and renewal, of which all others in the field continue to benefit, advance, and work from.
The Awards gala dinner and ceremony provided an opportunity to showcase and celebrate some of Australia’s most influential teachers and most accomplished students.
Crescent Awards are Australia’s premier national awards for celebrating exceptional achievements of Muslim learners, educators, leaders, and educational teams throughout the country.
Crescent Awards 2023 were supported by TLC, Islamic Relief and Binah Group in order to recognise Muslim learner and educator winners and runners up at this year’s Crescent Awards ceremony.
Crescent Wealth Managing Director and founder of Crescent Foundation, Professor Talal Yassine Welcomed the nominees and guests saying, “success should never be concealed in the shadows of modesty, but rather celebrated with resounding applause and genuine pride.”
“The Crescent Awards 2023 serve as a beacon, illuminating the accomplishments of individual leaners, educators and educator teams who have dared to dream, dared to strive, and dared to succeed.”
“By celebrating success, we not only honour those who have persevered, but we inspire others to reach for greatness, to believe in their own potential, and to embrace the possibilities that lie before them.”
The Hon Professor Bob Carr, Crescent Foundation Chair, reaffirmed the organisation’s commitment to supporting the Muslim community and opening doors for all Australians.
“Through the Crescent Awards we aim to recognise individuals and institutions that enrich our young community within the educational sector. We remain dedicated to empowering more Muslims to ascend to senior executive ranks and other high-profile roles across all sectors, thereby enabling them to make a significant contribution to the fabric of Australian society.”
Sheik Fehmi Naji El-Imam was born in Lebanon in 1928 and migrated to Melbourne, Australia in 1951.
In 1957, Sheikh Fahmi, in partnership with Dr Abdul Khaliq Kazi and Mr Ibrahim Dallal, formed the Islamic Society of Victoria and initiated the purchase of the first Islamic Center in Melbourne in North Carlton.
Later in 1963, the same committee also founded the national body formerly known as the Australian Federation of Islamic Societies (AFIS) based in Melbourne of which Sheikh Fahmi served as its general secretary for 10 years.
By 1974, the sheikh’s vigorous efforts had found reward in the completion of the ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab Mosque, Preston, its official opening by the then Prime Minister Gough Whitlam.
With the construction of the ‘Preston Mosque’ finally completed Sheikh Fahmi had a home from which he could teach classes, provide council and enhance and add to the swelling number of services being provided to the growing Australian Muslim community.
Later in 2007, Sheikh Fahmi succeeded Sheik Taj al-Din al-Hilali of Lakemba, Sydney as Grand Mufti of Australia. He held this prestigious position for a four-year term before he was succeeded by Sheik Ibrahim Abu Mohamed on 18 September, 2011.
For his effort and sacrifice he was granted the Order of Australia medal by the government for his services to multiculturalism, the Muslim community and multi-faith understanding.
Sheikh Fahmi, the leader, the servant, the teacher, the mentor, the husband, the father of four and grandfather of nine, passed away peacefully on 24 September, 2016 aged 88. He is buried at Fawkner Cemetery in Melbourne.