Ahmed Skaka migrated to Australia on the ship General Stewart in 1950. He came from a distinguished Sarajevian family from Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Ahmed Skaka arrived in Australia on the ship General Stewart in 1950. He came from a distinguished Sarajevian family from Bosnia and Herzegovina. For some time he stayed in post-world War II European camps before migrating to Australia.
Ahmed was the first qualified religious leader (Imam) in the Bosnian Muslim community in Australia and the first within the multi-ethnic Muslim communities in Australia. He accomplished his study in Theology in Gazi Husrev Bey Medresa in Sarajevo - the oldest educational Islamic institution in South-East Europe.
For most of his life in Australia, Ahmed lived in the same street (Little Gilbert Street) where the mosque was situated, taking care of the community. During his more than 30 years of voluntary work as an Imam, he also worked as a supervisor in a company making electrical parts in Adelaide after leaving the Bonegilla camp in Victoria. Ahmed was instrumental in the renewal of the oldest mosque in Australia, the Adelaide City Mosque, which had been built by Afghani migrants in the 1880s. The mosque was almost deserted. The 'Australian Minaret' wrote, 'in the darkest hour there was the faint ray of a new dawn - Muslim migrants from Europe led by Ahmed Skaka established the Islamic Society of South Australia. With his engagement in early 1950s reading of the Qur'an was heard again in the mosque'. ('The Australian Minaret', Vol. 1., No 1, 1965).
Ahmed was the first Muslim marriage celebrant in post-World War II Australia and, since then, has maintained correspondence on these matters with Government authorities as a respected spokesperson for the Muslim community. In 1964, Ahmed was an influential founding member of Australian Federation of Islamic Societies (AFIS and later AFIC). He took part in the founding conference held at the Department of Semitic Studies, at the University of Melbourne in Melbourne together with Dr Abdul Khaliq Kazi, Imam Fehmi al-Imam, Ibrahim Dellal and others. (AFIS Official Report 1964, the Australian Federation of Islamic Societies, Melbourne).
Under the leadership of Imam Skaka, the first journal issues of the 'Australian Minaret' were published in Adelaide. As a registered Islamic religious celebrant Ahmed Skaka performed wedding ceremonies in the old Adelaide Mosque. He organised Eid celebrations and taught Islamic classes for children and adults and visited many Muslim communities across Australia. Ahmed Skaka enjoyed great respect for his contribution to community-building, promoting Islamic education, cultural traditions, interfaith understanding as well as for his support of the AFIS. His name is recorded in the Museum of South Australia, the Bosnian and Herzegovinian National archive as well as in various works of distinguished authors, such as the Indian astronomer, Dr Muhammad Ilyas.
Based on Dzavid Haveric's research, 1999 and 2014.