Rotary embraces diversity

A WOMAN, a Muslim and a comedian walk into the Booragoon Rotary club.

Nah, it’s not the start of a joke, it’s what happened recently when Aliyyah Cornish-Ward performed Stand Up for Islam to local Rotarians, entertaining and educating them about the Muslim world.

The appearance also included a Q&A, entitled Struth! You can’t ask her that.

“I talked about the preoccupation with what Muslim women were wearing at the Olympics, and how we went there to take away all your lycra, and how it was not a clash of civilisations, but a clash of lycra,” says Cornish-Ward.

“My imam friend, Feizel Chothia, came down in his full clobber and I did a fashion send-up as he walked down an imaginary catwalk.

• Aliyyah Cornish-Ward (in black with glasses) at the Booragoon rotary club. Photo supplied

• Aliyyah Cornish-Ward (in black with glasses) at the Booragoon rotary club. Photo supplied

Burkini ban

“I also touched on the burkini ban in Cannes and how preposterous and silly it was.

“It was a good night and the routine was well received.”

Club president Matt Bruyninckx, 29, says he is keen to shake off the stigma of Rotary being the bastion of white, wealthy middle-aged businessmen.

“It’s a stigma and unfortunately in some cases it’s still true,” he says.

“But I’m trying to make our club more progressive and attract people of all different ages and backgrounds.

“At the end of the day we are a community club and we should reflect that diversity.

“I even bring my three-year-old daughter down to club meetings.”

Other progressive events coming up include a talk by fantasy author Meg Caddy and a drug forum in partnership with Melville SHS.

The club’s membership has dropped to just seven, but Mr Bruyninckx hopes the funky new agenda will attract some new faces.

The club meets at the Midnight Fox function room on Marmion Street.



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