Qazi Ashfaq Ahmad
|First name||Qazi Ashfaq|
|Country of Origin||India|
|Date of Birth||1930|
|Year of Arrival in Australia||1971|
|Submitted by||Manar Ahmad|
I was born into a middle class landlord family, my father was a public servant and my mother was a housewife. When two years old, my father died and when four years old, my mother died, so I was raised by grandparents. In 1950, I married Jamal Ara, and subsequently had six children – three boys (Zia, Najm and Manar) and three girls (Fauzia, Sadia and Najia), all of whom were born in India before migration.
For ten years before migrating to Australia, we lived in Kashmir, India where I was a Professor teaching engineering. In the immediate time before migrating, my family was spread out across northern India as I determined our collective future.
On 23 March 1971, I arrived in Australia alone after being accepted by the University of Sydney to continue my PhD. My family arrived in Australia in December 1971.
I completed my pre-university courses at a Christian college (where the teachers were largely American or British). I completed my Bachelor of Science degree from Patna University having gold medals. I attended the famous Aligarh Muslim University where I completed Bachelor of Engineering degrees having gold medals. After this I dedicated myself to Islamic and Arabic education before completing a Masters degree in Wisconsin, USA. Finally I completed my PhD at the University of Sydney after migration.
Reasons for leaving homeland
I was falsely accused of disloyalty towards India and of helping Pakistan. This was driven by corruption as I was targetted because I would not use my position at the University to favour students related to those in power. This resulted in the denial of jobs by government. I decided my only option was to migrate. After sending requests for study at universities in the US and Australia, I was offered a place at the University of Sydney.
Impressions upon arrival and during life in Australia
Before arrival, I didn\’t know much about Australia. I was welcomed warmly by the professor in charge at the University of Sydney. I was amazed at how well I was treated by Australians, and I came to love Australia then, and even more so now. I have developed great friendships with fellow Australians, and therefore decided to apply for citizenship in 1973.
I was involved in freedom from Britain movement in India in the 1940s, as a secretary general for a students group.
During World War II (1939Ð45), there was a great deal of political movement in India. Japan and Britain occupied the country and fought often, India was divided over whom to support.
After September 11, 2001, whilst everyone was affected, Muslims in the West were doubly affected, and they had to exercise patience and tolerance in the face of racism and prejudice.
My main goal is to enhance peace, understanding and harmony, motivated by the fact that Australia is one of the world\’s most peaceful countries and is a benchmark for good relations between non-Muslims and Muslims.
Declared disloyal to India and, without support, had to flee my homeland
Upon reaching Australia, overcoming financial hardships
– Academic success
– Moving to Australia
– Receiving scholarship at the University of Sydney
– Becoming a citizen of Australia
– Establishing the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils as the Founding President.
– Establishing the annual Multicultural Eid Festival and Fair which celebrates Muslim culture with non-Muslims
– Helping to unite Australian Muslims
– Receiving the Centenary Medal in 2001 for services to the community.