ADELAIDE – A group of Muslim worshipers have come together in a park to pray for rain amid the worsening drought and bushfire crisis. More than 50 men, women and children gathered at Bonython Park in Adelaide on Sunday to ask for rain to be sent to Australia’s struggling farmers and victims of the bushfires.
Priest Patrick McInerney, from the centre for Christian and Muslim Relations, joined the worshipers for prayer.
‘Today I joined with my Muslim sisters and brothers in Adelaide in prayer for rain,’ he said.
‘My friend, Professor Mohamad Abdalla, gave the khutbah (sermon) emphasising repentance and reliance on God who is Merciful Provider.’
The service comes a day after pilot Dick Lang, 78, and his 43-year-old son, Clayton, a surgeon, were killed in bushfires on Kangaroo Island, off the coast of South Australia.
The pair had been out fighting the blaze and were returning to a family property when they became trapped.
‘We are devastated to have lost two beloved members of our family, Dick Lang and his youngest son Clayton Lang, in such terrible circumstances,’ the family said in a statement.
South Australia Premier Steven Marshall said the deaths were tragic news.
‘Our hearts go out to the families of those people who have been affected,’ he said.
‘It really does reiterate the very important message that people listen to the alerts. This a very dangerous situation on Kangaroo Island.’
Significant property losses are expected from the fire with many homes and other buildings believed lost along with tourism and other infrastructure.
About 500 firefighters will continue to battle the uncontrolled blaze over the weekend, with crews and other resources brought in from the SA mainland.
The fire had been burning since late in December but escalated dramatically on Friday when it jumped containment lines during hot and windy conditions.
At one stage the entire island was subject to either an emergency warning or a watch and act advice with only the towns of Kingscote and Penneshaw on the east coast considered safe places.
By Saturday morning the situation had eased with cooler conditions providing an opportunity for fire crews to work on establishing fresh defences.
However, CFS chief officer Mark Jones said it was expected the fire, which had blackened more than 155,000 hectares, would continue to burn for several days.