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Pell stresses freedom of worship for Australian Moslems

Members of Australia's Islamic community should continue to worship as they choose, according to Sydney's Archbishop George Pell, who said "the extremism of fanatics overseas, or even a few hot-heads here, should not be foisted on them as typical of a whole community."

In a message for Australia Day, Dr Pell said "it will foster resentment if they are regularly denied space for their mosques".

The Archbishop described as a "considerable achievement" Australia's ability to overcome bitter religious rivalries in the past.

"We have built a peaceful society because all the significant groups in Australia have sufficient room to move and generally are no threat to one another," he said. "To preserve this is a common task for today and tomorrow."

Dr Pell stressed the diversity that exists within the Islamic community, insisting that it is important that public opinion does not "stereotype ... whole sets of people" as terrorists.

"Moslems have come to Australia from many different countries," he said. "The political and religious differences among them parallel the political differences in the wider Australian community and the religious differences among Christians."

Archdiocese of Sydney

Archdiocese of Sydney

28 Jan 2003