Friday night witnessed the retirement dinner for Medinia Abdur Rahman, who has been serving as the Principal of Arkana for the past 18 years. As Principal of Arkana which is a small but effective school, Medinia has contributed substantially to the Muslim community through her work with Muslim Aid, MEFF and her numerous committee presences for the Association of Independent Schools. She has maintained an excellent relationship with her professional colleagues in the AIS who spoke strongly of her contribution to independent schooling and their personal respect for her. There are few Muslims who have been able to maintain such a professional status with their Australian peers, let alone the respect and admiration of the Muslim community she so admirably served for so many years. Arkana was the second Muslim school to be established in NSW after Al Noori, and the fourth to be opened in Australia. Insha Allah (God willing) the new breed of Principals who will be taking on the easier role of maintenance from their earlier pioneering forebears, will contribute as effectively and maintain a healthy respect for the work of those before them.
On Friday I was privileged to be invited to a business lunch with Dr. Kamran Mofid. An economics professor and long time lecturer, Dr. Kamran is passionate about the ethical responsibility of economists and the need for an ethical economy. His personal endeavour is to bring about a change of attitude in economists today, while recognising that the economy cannot be dismantled or substantially altered, his cry for a spiritual resurgence and a turning away from wealth and consumerism for its own sake found a surprisingly good response amongst the businessmen and lawyers who attended. Our society is struggling with growing poverty in the advanced as well as the developing world, high levels of depression, child abuse, wife battering, suicide, drug taking and overall unhappiness. Record numbers of adults let alone children are now being prescribed anti-depressants on a daily basis. For all of our wealth, our greed has not made us happy, and Dr. Kamran carried a vital message about the importance of balancing our love of this world with a spirituality that makes us less materialistic and more capable of finding happiness.