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Bishop shares Catholic experience at end of Ramadan dinner

Speaking at an Islamic Friendship Dinner, Parramatta Bishop Kevin Manning has paralleled the current attitude of Australians toward local Muslim communities with that of Irish Catholics in this country before the Second World War.

The Western Sydney bishop was speaking on Sunday evening at the annual Friendship and Dialogue Dinner hosted by the NSW Turkish Islamic Cultural Centre, associated with the Gallipoli Mosque at Auburn.

He said that many older Irish Catholics remember a time when they were marginalised and stereotyped by the dominant British culture in Australian society, in much the same way that Muslims are today.

"Socially, they were not the cream of society," he said. "They were the working class and not well represented in the professions... Catholics improved their lot through education and participation in the democratic process of political life."

Bishop Manning said the key to overcoming marginalisation and stereotyping is for adults to learn from children, who are "often far better at discounting stereotypes than some of their elders". He paid tribute to the "magnificent job" schools do in dispelling stereotypes as part of their formal and informal curriculum.

Sunday's Friendship and Dialogue Dinner coincided with the breaking of the Ramadan fast when it is customary for Muslims to offer hospitality and break the fast together with family, friends, and even strangers.

Diocese of Parramatta

NSW Auburn Turkish Islamic Cultural Centre
Gallipoli Mosque
Auburn Mosque Project

18 Nov 2003