In this blessed month of Ramadan, Muslims around the world fast, iftar and experience Ramadan together. This year, we have the opportunity to learn more about how Ramadan is celebrated in Perth, the capital of Western Australia! Known for its beautiful great outdoor, golden sandy beaches, ever evolving city skyline and cultural diversity, we interviewed Hadi Hamkha, a Singaporean Muslim and Amira Nunn, a Malaysian Muslim who have been residing in Perth for a few years now! Read on to find out the uniqueness of celebrating Ramadan in Perth and some of the must-see spots in Western Australia that are perfect for your future getaways!
1. Tell us more about yourself
Credit: Hadi Hamkha
Hadi: I'm Hadi Hamkha from Perth, Australia. I was born in Singapore and moved to Perth with my family back in 2005. Few things I love about living here are the four seasons and the fact that Perth is so close to home and has the same time zone as Singapore! It is only 4.5 hours away from Singapore!
Credit: Amira Nunn
Amira: Hi, I’m Amira Nunn from Perth, Australia! I grew up and spent most of my life in Terengganu, Malaysia. My family and I relocatedto Perth for both work and study reasons. What I love about Perth is the diversity and multicultural community,laid-back lifestyle and good work life balance. The locals also take advantage of the geographic location of Perth which has some of the best beaches and walking trails in Australia as well as unique attractions like Lancelin Sand Dunes, Dwellingup Tree Tops, Jewel Cave, and Mammoth Cave. Perth is an ideal place to relax and bask in the beauty of the surrounding nature.
2. What’s a typical day like for you when spending Ramadan in Perth?
Credit: Hadi Hamkha
Hadi: In Perth, there are differences of opinion on what is the first night of Ramadan, which is determined by the Imam of the mosque that I always attend to. But on weekdays, I will break my fast at home with my family and then go down to Al-Latief in Langford for Tarawih. During weekends, we head down to Ar-Rukun in Rockingham to break our fast with the congregants.
Occasionally, I will attend other mosques to gain different experiences as Perth is multicultural and has diverse ethnicities. I will make the effort to break my fast with my immediate family and also family friends.
Amira: My typical day consists of the usual routine ofworking and studying until late evening and coming home to cook iftar with my family. When shopping for halal meats, you can get them from a 24/7 grocer calledSpudshed Supermarket and they’re easily available at the halal section at Coles Supermarket as they have a wide range of halal meats to choose from. Perth also has a good extensive fresh produce that is supplied by local Western Australia suppliers. It helps immensely in preparing food for the entire family and we don’t have to worry about stocking up on fresh food or drive far to get halal and healthy food.
Credit: Amira Nunn
3. What are some of the activities the Muslim community in Perth does during Ramadan and Hari Raya?
Credit: Hadi Hamkha
Hadi: Nearing the end of Ramadan, some mosques practice Khatam (completion) of the Quran. While others provide food to overseas university students and congregants. During Eid, some Eid prayers are held at the park while some are held at the mosque. We will have our Raya meal together after prayers and make our way to family friend’s open houses, while other communities attend fun fair rides at Eid Carnivals.
Amira: There are many large scale iftar events that are held for fundraising and dawah purposes. For example, the Muslim association inmy university holds a community iftar that encourages you to bring a non-Muslim friend to the event. This is just one one of many events held throughout Ramadan.
4. What are some of the dishes that you usually eat for sahur and iftar in Perth?
Credit: Charco’s The Flaming Chicken on Facebook
Hadi: For sahur, I will eat dates, have light meals and drink lots of water to allow me to endure the whole day at work as I work under the sun for 8 hours. At the end of my working shift, I look forward to breaking fast with my family.
My usual meal would be traditional Malay lauk like lemak cili api or nasi lemak. One of my favourite places to break my fast in Perth would be at Charco's The Flaming Chicken in Huntingdale. They serve charcoaled grilled chicken and I would recommend anyone coming to Perth in the future to visit this restaurant.
: From crispy fish and chips to yummy burgers, Perth is also brimming with a variety of local cuisine. Make sure to check out our 4D3N Muslim-friendly itinerary to Perth
for the best halal eateries to try on your future getaways!
5. We heard there’s a church in Fremantle that welcomes Muslims to hold their prayers there every Friday. What are your thoughts on the interfaith community in Western Australia?
Amira: It’s definitely a unique experience! St Paul's Anglican Church Hall in Fremantle allows theMuslim community to use their space during Friday prayers. It is a very wonderful sight to see that we can work together despite being of different faiths.
Hadi: I have visited that church in Fremantle. A good friend of mine sometimes leads the prayers there on a scheduled basis. I feel that it is important to keep our interfaith strong. We are all humans and it’s important to be there for each other. We hope that we can offer the same service to them when they are in need as well.
6. Some of our readers are excited to visit Perth and Western Australia once the international borders reopen. What are some of the must-see spots would you recommend us to visit?
Hadi: For must-see spots in Perth, you can visit the Busselton Jetty, which is the second longest jetty in the world. Besides that, you can do sandboarding and ATV riding at Lancelin Sand Dunes as well as admiring the Milky Way at the Pinnacles - if you plan your night properly.
Credit: Bunbury Farmers Market on Facebook
Amira: I would recommend Bunbury's Farmers Market near the Margaret River region in Swan Valley. The market has an unbelievable range of fresh food sourced from the local farms including fruits, vegetables and other locally made delicacies. The sights are just amazing and really allows you to slow andappreciate Perth's beauty.
7. Can you share a few local eateries you would recommend for Muslim travellers to try?
Credit: Cairo Cafe & Restaurant Cannington on Facebook
Hadi: Besides Charco's The Flaming Chicken for chicken and lamb ribs, I recommend Cairo Cafe for quality Middle Eastern food in a Western country. It definitely represents the ethnic diversity we have in Western Australia. There's also Penang Delight Vic Park for Singapore and Malaysian dishes. You can also find many halal food joints, restaurants and cafes in Victoria Park, known as the food hub of Perth.
Amira: On top of that, Fremantle Market has a wide range of delicacies including sushi, pastries, candies, fresh fruits and vegetables - and it’s also a 4-minute drive from St. Paul’s Anglican Church where Muslims can perform Friday prayers. The best neighbourhood to visit for halal food would definitely be Victoria Park (also known as Mini Malaysia), Spencer’s Village and Perth CBD. You can find plenty of halal eateries and Malaysian restaurants concentrated in one location!
No matter where you are in the world, there's something so special about Ramadan that unites us across cultures 😊 While we wait for international borders to reopen in Perth, we hope you will continue to dream about our future getaway to Western Australia- and hopefully have the chance to celebrate Ramadan here someday!
This article is brought to you by Tourism Western Australia.