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Brisbane Justice Commission condemns 'Islamophobia'

The Brisbane Catholic Justice and Peace Commission has urged Queensland authorities to take firm action to curb discrimination against Muslims in the wake of the Bali bombing and last year's terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre in New York.

The Catholic Leader reports that the commission's executive officer, Peter Arndt, last week condemned "Islamophobia".

"Justice demands that the people responsible for the dreadful acts of violence in New York and Bali be held accountable in a court of law for the death and suffering they have caused, but to subject Muslim people in Australia to acts of violence is outrageous behaviour.

"We have heard many reports from different refugee organisations and in the media about Muslim women, wearing traditional dress, being abused, having their head-dress torn off or being spat on.

"This is not behaviour that we can accept if we are a people who value our commitment to justice and human rights."

Brisbane archdiocesan Centre for Multicultural Pastoral Care director Jose Zepeda agreed.

"Christians are now at a crossroads. We are being tested in how we live, and whether we live our faith authentically?" he said.

Mr Zepeda said that while the Centre for Multicultural Pastoral Care had not received specific complaints of abuse it had heard comments from Islamic people concerned that attitudes and behaviour in Australia were changing.

Catholic Leader

Catholic Justice and Peace Commission | Appeal To Challenge "Islamophobia" (media release)
The Nature of Islamophobia (extract from Islamophobia: A Challenge for Us All, compiled and published by the Runnymede Trust, UK, in 1997)


The sharing of a priest at an interfaith conference has revealed that a small parish can help Muslims and Catholics rebuild communities shattered by war in the southern Philippines.

Fr Roberto Layson, an Oblate of Mary Immaculate priest, says dialogue and peace are not the work of one person or one specialist in one religion, but "an integral part of the evangelizing mission of the Church."

He was commenting on "Building Bridges Between Peoples" in a talk he gave late ;ast ,pmtj at the National Interfaith Conference in Makati City, south of Manila.

Fr Layson spoke to the 200 Muslims and Christians at the conference on how his parish organised Muslim and Christian volunteers to help in evacuation centers after the military attacked camps of the separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front in and near the town in 2000.

UCA News

8 Nov 2002