Screening of "Before 1770" documentary

4 August 2021

As we celebrate National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children's Day on today's 4 August, Al Siraat hosted a special screening of the Must-See documentary film "BEFORE 1770" with 100 guests at Village Cinemas in South Morang (in line with current Covid restrictions).

A beautiful opening prayer was conducted by Mohammad Jalil Sarwar from our Year 10 cohort.

The "Welcome to Country" was performed by local Indigenous Muslim Elder, Brother Andrew Hassan Gardiner. Uncle Andrew also gave a very passionate speech of how he is personally invested in this film which highlights the shared history between the Makassan Muslims and the First People of Arnhem Land, the Yolngu dating back long before 1770.

Co-founder of Al Siraat College, Ms Rahat Arain gave a welcoming speech and spoke about the importance of truth and truthtelling as well as the responsibility each of us has in sharing the truth of our history.

Ms Mouna, a member of the production team gave a very inspiring speech about the empowering message of belonging the film gives to young Australian Muslims. She stated, “Our Muslim ancestors had a rich and long connection with the Aboriginal people of this land for hundreds of years before white settlement.”

Mr Fazeel Arain, Principal and co-founder of Al Siraat College, shared his reflections from the film and talked about his own upbringing and experiences of discrimination. He gave students several examples of ways young people can advocate for change in their communities and participate in greater Indigenous engagement.

Our students also had ample opportunity to ask questions and share their reflections on the documentary which had left many in the audience with watery eyes.

This program had originally been planned as a part of the Interfaith Youth Forum project to take place during Reconciliation Week but was postponed due to the snap lockdown and subsequent COVID restrictions.

A second screening of BEFORE 1770 will be scheduled once restrictions ease further, hopefully in the coming weeks, run in collaboration with our interfaith partners at Village Cinemas.