Sunday, September 21, 2014

Catholic Church Supports Call for Release of Children from Detention

Supporting the release of children from detention. Catholic Mission - Brisbane#freethechildren — with David McGovern at Cathedral of St Stephen, Brisbane.

The grounds of the Cathedral of St Stephen have been home for the last week to the installation Free the Children.Organised by a coalition of organisations which included the Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office; Catholic Religious Australia; ChilOut; International Detention Coalition; Australian Young Christian Students; Uniting Justice Australia; the Institute of Sisters of Mercy of Australia and PNG; and Catholic Mission, the "Free the Children Installation" was created by award winning sculptor artist Benjamin Gilbert.

I participated in this installation and have sent off a message to my local Federal Member,Terri Butler calling for an end to this inhumane policy.Join me in a chorus across the land that calls out #freethechildren

Media from Church Sources

“The Catholic Church welcomes proposals by the Greens for children to be removed from
Immigration detention centres,” Fr Maurizio Pettena, Director of the Australian Catholic
Migrant and Refugee Office, said today.  Fr Pettena was responding to calls by the Greens,
supported by the Liberals, to release children from detention centres.

“Both in its pastoral activity and in its advocacy, the Catholic Church has always been
advocating for the release of children from the detention centres.” Fr Pettena said.

“The Catholic Church has been active over many years working with asylum seekers, both
inside detention centres and after they are released.  Our workers have seen the trauma
and the damage that is caused by indefinite and, in many cases, arbitrary detention.
There must be a better way,” Fr Pettena said.

“Detention is particularly cruel and particularly inappropriate for children.”

“We note that the Social Justice Commissioner’s report on Indigenous Deaths in Custody
1989‐1996 said in part (recommendation 10) “disruption to the lives of children should be
a strong consideration” and “Mothers of young children should not be detained unless
absolutely necessary.”

“If the Social Justice Commissioner was correct 14 years ago regarding Indigenous women
and children, his comments are also correct today regarding women and children in
immigration detention.”

“The time has long passed, if it ever existed, for the wholesale detention of women and
children in Immigration detention”, Fr Pettena said.

“We call on the Government to release children from detention.”
Link to Official Copy of the Statement

Fr Maurizio Pettena
Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office
T: 0262019848
M: 042766764

The Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office opposes locking up children
in immigration detention centres because:

  • The detention environment and length of time spent in detention inflicts 
  • mental and physical harm, anguish and suffering on Children. 
  • The detention environment subjects children to violent and distressing 
  • incidents, including self-harm and witnessing their parents and other 
  • children and adults mentally and physically breakdown. 
  • The prolonged and mandatory nature of detention inherently treats 
  • children as criminals and fails to uphold their human dignity. 
  • The policy of locking vulnerable groups in detention without trial is 
  • fundamentally oppressive and morally corrupt. 
  • Australia has effective alternatives to held immigration detention which 
  • address national concerns and allow asylum seekers to be treated 
  • humanely in the community.
  • Punishing people for seeking protection ignores the gravity of a global 
  • humanitarian crisis and the realities people face when compelled to seek 
  • protection through clandestine channels. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Open Mosque Day Brisbane

On Friday September 19 Brisbane residents had an opportunity to participate in  the first Queensland Open Mosque Day.

For me this meant my first visit to the local Mosque in Holland Park.You can view my video of the visit here

Solidarity and support for the local Muslim community. Great hospitality and frank conversation with neighbours and friends — at Holland Park Mosque

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Social Justice Statement Launch

A Crown for Australia

Striving for the best in our sporting nation

Archbishop Mark Coleridge will launch the 2014 – 2015 Social Justice Statement in the Brisbane Archdiocese at a gathering organised by St James’ Parish Social Justice Forum next Wednesday 17 September at 7 p.m. for 7.30 p.m. at the Parish Hall, 92 Kirkland Avenue, Coorparoo.

 As part of the evening, the Brisbane  Justice and Peace Commission will lead a discussion with Tamil asylum seeker cricketers and asylum seekers who play in the Tigers Eleven Soccer Team. 

A cuppa will be available from 7 p.m. and it would assist the Parish with catering and seating if you RSVP by Monday 15 September by e-mailing or by ringing 3397 1671.

Book Launch of ISA: Christian Muslim Reflections by Dave Andrews

 AMARAH cordially invites you to: 
a Special Book Launch of ISA: Christian Muslim Reflections by Dave Andrews

AMARAH is a non-profit organisation based in Brisbane, Australia that advocates for a better world.
AMARAH is an acronym for Australian Muslim Advocates for the Rights of All Humanity.
As the name suggests, AMARAH supports and encourages the positive engagement of Muslims on issues of concern for the whole of humanity.

Date:          Tuesday 30 September 6.30 pm- 8:00 pm
Venue:       The Meeting Room Westfield Garden City Library, Mt Gravatt
RSVP:        Nora Amath namath14@yahoo.comby 25 September
                  Tea/Coffee and Light Refreshments will be available

I commend Dave Andrews for being so insightful as to write this wonderful treatise about Jesus to further enhance, or even revive, the ‘interconnectedness’ between Muslims and Christians in a time of suspicion and hostility. His work is a testimony to his goodness and genuine desire to bring people of different faith persuasions together, to discuss about Jesus in a respectful and noble manner.”
                                                                                                                          Assoc Prof Mohamed Abdalla

“…(This) book seeks to engender an attitude of openness and dialogue, rather than maintaining, as we so often do, a closed door to others or at worst a brutal dismissal of what other people believe without ever have discussed these matters with persons of the faith we have outrightly condemned.”
                                                                                                                                         Prof Charles Ringma

Monday, September 01, 2014

The Launch of Bill Morris's Book in Canberra and Adelaide

 These clips are available on the ATF Youtube Channel
The text of Frank Brennan's speech is available here.