This photograph was taken just before proceedings and does not do justice to the number of people who packed the room for the afternoon, or to the huge array of homemade keba, tabouleh, felafel, meat and pastry dishes that the trestle tables groaned under.
The station’s officers, surprised by the association’s request to hold the thank you tea, were not to be outdone and contributed lamingtons and homemade trifles, making the table a sweet symbol of multiculturalism at work.
The officers have engaged with the Arab community recently through actions such as holding a meet-and-greet at the association and taking part in the Multicultural Eid Carnival.
‘We want to thank you very much. You’ve made a big difference to the Muslim community, who are finding it hard at the moment with what’s happening in the world,’ Australian Arab Association president Salim Youssef said.
Association members presented community engagement unit co-ordinator Sergeant Matt Sharp with a Tunisian candle lamp made from hand-cut copper.
They also gave Canning Vale police officer-in-charge Senior Sergeant Shandell Castledine a hand-painted Tunisian ceramic bowl for the station.
‘This is going straight to the pool room,’ she joked.
But in a more serious aside, she said her officers appreciated the hardship their community faced.
‘We’re here to support you and your community,’ she said.