Building on the success of the Club’s 2011 “More Than a Game” program, “Generation M” was launched with a screening of “Fordson: Faith, Fasting, Football” a powerful documentary detailing the exploits of a predominantly Arab-American Detroit high school football team as they prepare to play their bitter cross town rivals during the final week of Ramadan and in the wake of 9/11.
Western Bulldogs midfielder and Multicultural Ambassador, Liam Picken, also provided the audience with an insight into his challenging pathway to becoming an AFL Footballer, the significant role sport has played in his life and the cultural diversity that currently exists within the Western suburbs and Western Bulldogs playing group.
Last year’s ‘More Than a Game’ participant and Newport Islamic Society member Ali Hamad explained the challenges faced with resettlement in Australia, his subsequent relocation from Sydney to Melbourne, the positive impact football has played in his life and most significantly the importance of inter-faith dialogue achieved through the 2011 program.
Over 100 community members and guests from the Western Bulldogs, Victoria Police, Australian Federal Police, Hobson’s Bay City Council, Department of Immigration and Citizenship, Islamic Council of Victoria, Victoria University and project partners Newport Islamic Society and Virgin Mary Mosque filed into the Sun Theatre’s Grand Cinema for the feature screening.
The 12 month capacity building project will offer young Muslim men and women from the Newport Islamic Society and Virgin Mary Mosque opportunities to participate in leadership, mentoring and media training programs that will strengthen their skills, competencies and abilities, to address various factors that can lead to violent extremism.
“Generation M” is supported through funding from the Australian Governments Attorney-General’s Department under its Building Community Resilience grants program.