Statement on Tragedy in Bourke Street, Melbourne 9/11/2018

The Geelong Interfaith Network deplores the violent attack that resulted in the deaths of both an innocent bystander and the perpetrator, and serious injury to others, in Bourke Street on Friday 9th November. We extend our deepest sympathy to the loved ones of the victims, and to those still suffering from their wounds. We wish them the fullest recovery possible from such a traumatic event.

  The Network acknowledges that the attack was carried out in the name of religion by a man allegedly ‘radicalised in extremist Muslim ideology’. This is a cause of shame to us since violence of this kind grievously offends against all the faiths represented in the Network, including the Muslim faith.

We acknowledge, therefore, the right and the duty of the democratic state to bring such offenders to justice, and to take measures to protect the community against such offences. In a democracy, however, the state is bound to ensure that such measures, as well as promising to be effective, are also just.

 One of the requirements for such measures to be just is that they be based on truth. In this case the truth about the causes of the offence is complex: it was not just radicalisation in a particular ideology that contributed to the crimes, but mental illness on the part of the perpetrator.

Moreover, according to the experts, no simple inference from ‘radicalisation’ to violent action can validly be drawn. Some who are intellectually radicalised never offend, whereas others who are only superficially, and perhaps only recently, radicalised do offend, and in some cases the latter have a history of violent offending predating radicalisation.

In devising measures to apprehend potential offenders, and protect the community, the civil authorities must beware of simple ‘solutions’ which don’t fit complex causes. Simply holding the whole Muslim community accountable for the violence of a mentally ill member may make us all less safe by alienating – without just cause – the very community whose cooperation is most needed for any protective measures to work.

Our Network wishes to affirm the peace-loving nature of the Muslim community of Geelong, a community which has been a valued member of the Network since its inception.

13 November 2018

Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue – Public Consultation

Australia has been largely successful in developing a multi-faith and multi-cultural society. For that reason, four members of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue (PCID) will be coming from the Vatican to Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne in order to be better informed about the interreligious activities of the Catholic church in Australia; to be familiar with the interreligious particularities in Australia; and to encourage those involved in this service. Accompanied by the Most Reverend Christopher Prowse, Archbishop of Canberra-Goulburn, who is chair of the Australian Bishops’ Commission for Ecumenism and Inter-religious Relations, the four members of the Delegation are:
H.E. Bishop Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot MCCJ, Secretary of PCID. Born in Spain. The head of the delegation, is also an expert in Islam.
Monsgr. Indunil Kodithuwakku. Born in Sri Lanka. Follows the relations with the Buddhists, Shinto and Confucianists.
Monsgr. Santiago Michael. Born in India. Follows the relations with the Hindus, Sikhs and Jains.
Fr. Markus Solo SVD. Born in Indonesia. Follows the relations with Muslims in Asia and Pacific

This Public Consultation is open to anyone who is involved in or interested in interreligious relations.
The Delegation will engage with specially invited leaders from the Muslim, Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist communities, asking them: What are your hopes and concerns for the life of your religious community in Australia? How can the Catholic Church be of assistance? How can the Catholic Church and your own faith tradition draw closer together? Download the flyer for more information.

When:            Sunday 23 September 2018      2:30pm to 5pm
Where:           Catholic Leadership Centre, 576 Victoria Parade, East Melbourne

New Jewish War Memorial Unveiled in Canberra

A new national war memorial has been unveiled to remember the 341 Jewish servicemen who laid down their lives fighting for Australia, 100 years to the day since Monash was knighted on the battlefield.

To read more Click Here.