Tuesday, 25 July 2017


Read more about this here

To read more about the Sikhs and the turban
and its importance to them, please go here.

The editor of Beside The Creek wonders if any of the decision-makers at this school
know any Sikhs or know anything about their faith.
Their decision is sure to bring the school and its Christian faith
into disrepute in interfaith circles in Victoria.

For those who are not aware,
Sikh men do not cut their hair - and that goes for beards as well.
Having said that though, there are many Sikh men who do.
However, the standard and traditional practice is
to let the hair, face and head, grow.

The editor once had a doctor who was a Sikh.
As well as the turban, he had a sort of little pouch which
hooked behind his ears, and that kept his beard tidy.

All this to-do makes me wonder how this Christian school
might have treated an orthodox Jewish male wearing
a skull-cap or that stand-out black hat head-gear?
After all, Jesus was a Jew and, if he was back in
this modern world, what would he be wearing?
But then in this Christian school, maybe they would not allow
the skull-cap either.

Seems to this editor, that what these very particular Christians at Melton have done
is the usual discriminatory thing.
When all else fails and you don't want to say someone is not
welcome because .....
impose an arbitrary dress code.

From the Christian viewpoint, all are welcome in the Kingdom of God,
but at this school at Melton they have higher standards than that
and it can get down to what you put on your head.

Please take a visit to a Sikh Gurdwara here.

ALL human lives matter - yours. mine. ours.

From Ecumenics and Quakers - Newsletter by Maurizio Benazzi

By Dr Mansoor Durrani
United States of America has been the leader of nations for a while. From fashion and food to “war on terror” other nations simply follow the leader. But people embrace American products like McDonald, Nike, iPhone and other American lifestyle by choice. So it is unfair to say that the US gets the world to follow it under the gun. Of course US does compel and bully others, but only for big-ticket games like wars, arm sales etc. And it is not just consumers or governments who follow the US practices worldwide. Even the social movements picking up slogans from the US. So there is Black Lives Matter movement, and then the white Americans have their own Native Lives Matter movement.
In the aftermath of recent hate crimes against Muslims in the US and Europe and lynching terrorism that the New India has unleashed on its Muslim population, the civil society in support of helpless victims has come up with the slogan Muslim Lives Matter. Being a universal faith that is meant for the entire humanity and not just for Muslims, I have an issue with this narrow focus – no matter how justified it may seem under the current situation. Even though under the hate crimes and lynching terrorism a vast majority victims are Muslims, but Islamic faith teaches that all human lives are equally precious. If innocent Muslim lives are taken by saffron terrorists on the streets of Northern or Southern Indian states are precious then the innocent Hindu lives taken while returning from a pilgrimage in Kashmir are important too. Beyond India, Christian lives matter in South Sudan as much as Buddhist lives matter in Tibet. And Shi’a lives matter in Pakistan as much as Sunni lives matter in Syria and Iraq!
If other narrow, self-centered and petty ideologies create high walls around their ethnic or faith groups, it is understandable. But the Muslim civil society in India (and elsewhere) should have given one-and-only slogan to safeguard innocent lives and that slogan must be Human Lives Matter. The human angle resonates a bit more in the Indian context because the entire lynching terrorism shows to the world that cows (even if the beef eating or beef carrying allegations are true) are more important than human lives in New India! It is this primitive mindset combined with cold barbarity that sets the current situation apart from all the atrocities intermittently unleashed on Muslims over the past seven decades.
In the midst of these challenging times, an encouraging fact that requires both recognition and appreciation is large scale support that the victims of lynching terrorism receiving from Indians of all other faiths. Though we are yet to see a Portland, Oregon style defense where in May 2017 three white American men gave their lives for defending a young Muslim girl in headscarf who was being terrorized on a train by a white Muslim-hater. But a fair section of Indian media, specially alternate news outlets on social media, have strongly condemned endless killings of innocent Muslims. These aspects point to the need for a worldwide movement under the banner of Human Lives Matter. Depending upon which part of the world we are discussing, innocent lives of all faith groups are being taken mercilessly by hate groups who operate under various banners and who have established lawless dictatorships under the garb of democracies in a number of countries – including our incredible India!
There is a general impression (and correct to some extent) that while Muslims claim to be the followers of a universal faith that preach perfect equality regardless of caste, color, class or creed.But in practice their reaction or protests against atrocities are largely confined to their own faith groups. This is fundamentally contrary to the teachings of their Islamic faith. It may be just fine for the saffron brigade to differentiate the value of human lives. For example, they condemn and grieve SEVEN Amarnath pilgrims killed by terrorists and then the very next week coldly ignore the deaths of SEVENTEEN Amarnath pilgrims when their bus falls into a gorge – just because there was no Muslim link to these SEVENTEEN deaths.
This hypocrisy is not confined to civilian deaths alone. Even the political value of military causalities is assessed by who actually the killer is. So when a senior Indian army officer Major ShikharThapa, of 71 Armoured Regiment is killed in J&K on 17 July by his subordinate NaikKathiresan who pumped five bullets in Major’s back, no hashtags is launched in sympathy of Major Shikhar’s 3 month old son!
More than 100 cases of suicide are reported every year in the Indian armed forces. But no tears are shed on these losses of lives. Human lives!!
But Muslims claim to have a different value system. This is why there are two strong reasons for them to take a lead on a new Human Lives Matter initiative (A) they are the principal victims (worldwide) of Western-led war on terror and (B) Qur’an, their Holy book, most explicitly says this:
Whoever saves one (human) it is as if he saved the entire humanity[Chapter 5: verse 32]
Dr Mansoor Durrani is a PhD in Islamic Banking from UK. He is currently serving as a Senior Vice President at a top bank in the Middle East. Views are personal.

Monday, 24 July 2017

The Dale Hess Diary of Peace and Social Justice events - 17-07-24

Below is a calendar of peace and social justice events compiled on a weekly basis by Dale Hess. Dale is a Quaker and, together with Lorel Thomas, is joint Clerk of the Victorian Regional Meeting of the Society of Friends.  Dale is active in Pace e Bene Australia. Lorel is the National Co-ordinator of the Australian Network to Ban Landmines and Cluster Munitions.

Tuesday 25 July, 7.30 pm: Peacemaking in the Modern World. For the last 9 months, Jasmine has been based in Al-Khalil (Hebron) in Palestine. Each day she has accompanied Palestinian children and adults as they negotiate the reality of checkpoints, restricted access to their own neighbourhoods and have to endure the reality of occupation. You have the chance to hear from Jasmine about her work with the Christian Peacemaker Teams and what it means to be seek peace in the modern world. Location: Brunswick Uniting Church, 214 Sydney Road, Brunswick. Supper afterwards. More details? Go to https://www.trybooking.com/RAQX. Sponsored by Brunswick Uniting Church & the Palestine Israel Ecumenical Network. For more information? Contact PIEN

Wednesday, 26 July, 6 pm: Weapons or Well Being?  There will be a panel discussion in the Sunderland Theatre (Medical School, Grattan St entrance) on the controversy about Melbourne University's new connection with Lockheed Martin, the world's largest arms seller. It's been organised by the Medical Association for the Prevention of War Student Group. Speakers included Dr Margie Beavis from the Med Faculty, the president of MAPW and an ICAN colleague, Alex Edney-Browne, who is doing an interesting PhD at Melbourne on drone warfare, and Professor Richard Tanter. The organisers have tried to get someone from both Lockheed Martin and the university administration, but for some reason have had no luck. Apart from the obvious questions about partnering with an organisation that draws 78% of its sales from armaments, there are critical questions university governance in this case.

Wednesday, 26 July, 7.30 pm: The Environment and Social Justice - Pope Francis’ Inspirational Reflections on Ecological Care: An evening of reflection and discussion. Guest Speaker is Dr Deborah GuessDeborah Guess works in the area of ecological theology and is a research associate at Pilgrim Theological College, University of Divinity, Melbourne, where she teaches Christianity and Ecology. Deborah is also a long-time member of the Australian Christian Meditation Community and grows organic fruit and vegetables at her permaculture property at Warburton. Place:  St Joan of Arc Parish Hall,  118 New St. Brighton. An initiative of the social justice group, St Joan of Arc. For more information contact Helen on 0418 999 800.

Friday 28 July, 7 pm for 7.30 pm: Stand Up for Justice! Julian Burnside AO QC is our guest speaker at St Francis Xavier Church Hall, Mayona Road, Montmorency. Opening speakers: Omar and Saad al Kassab. Q and A panel with all the speakers, joined by Kobra Moradi. This is a free event. However, bookings are essential: https://www.stickytickets.com.au or email massginfo@gmail.com

Saturday 29 July, 1 pm – 5 pm: Asylum Seeker Resource Centre Community Action Workshop.  In these workshops we share tools and resources we can all use to help re-frame conversations with family, friends and people of influence on the rights of people seeking asylum. The content is designed to complement any existing advocacy people may already be involved in, but it's also an ideal entry point if they haven't been involved much before. On the day you will get to meet and work with like-minded people wanting to take action in their local area. As an organisation that shares humanitarian and human rights values with the ASRC, we would like to extend an invitation to your members to come along to our upcoming Community Action Workshop in the Bayside area. Venue: Highett Neighbourhood Community House, 2 Livingston Street, Highett 3190. Please RSVP here!

Wednesday 2 August 7:30 pm -9 pm: What Future for West Papua? In the early 1960s, West Papua was a Dutch colony, with a well-funded well-organised self-determination program, legislated by the Netherlands Parliament, and signed-off by Queen Juliana, with independence scheduled for 1970. By the end of the 1960s, West Papua was an Operational Military Zone within the Indonesian Republic. What happened, and what’s going on now? Speakers: Louise Byrne & Revd Peter Woods.  Venue: Yarra Theological Union Study Centre, Enter via 34 Bedford Street Box Hill. Street parking available. Entry by donation. Refreshments available afterwards. Download a flyer.

Sunday 6 August, 10.30 am: Peace Service. Hiroshima Day St Paul’s Cathedral. The Japanese Consul-General, Mr Kazuyoshi Matsunaga, has been invited by the Dean to deliver a brief message on peace, and the Melbourne Chapter of Ikebana International (Japanese flower arranging) will provide the floral arrangements, which can be viewed in the Cathedral throughout the day. St Paul’s Cathedral, corner of Flinders and Swanston Streets.

Sunday 6 August, 2 pm – 4 pm: Hiroshima Day Peace Vigil. Outside of St Paul’s Cathedral. Organised by Medical Association for the Prevention of War. St Paul’s Cathedral, corner of Flinders and Swanston Streets.


Sunday 6 August, 2 pm: Hiroshima Day Commemoration. Professor Richard Tanter will speak and the film Hiroshima will be shown. Organised by CICD and the Unitarian Church. Venue: Melbourne Unitarian Church 110 Grey Street, East Melbourne.


Friday 25 August, 7.30 pm: Screening of the film, Guarding the Galilee. Presented by Queensland-born actor Michael Caton, this new 30-minute documentary shines a spotlight on the battle to stop the biggest coal mine in Australian history, Adani’s Carmichael project. The award-winning documentary team captures the raw beauty of the Queensland outback, where Adani’s mine threatens essential water resources. Bayside Oxfam Group, All Souls Anglican Church, 48-50 Bay Road, Sandringham, Victoria 3191.

Friday 8 September – Sunday 10 September: Independent and Peaceful Australia National Conference 2017, Melbourne.Conference theme: War, Peace and Independence: Keep Australia out of US wars. Speakers: Assoc. Prof. David Vine, Dr Alison Broinowski, James O’Neill, Prof Richard Tanter, Dr Margaret Beavis, Dr Mik Gilligan, Senator Scott Ludlam, Warren Smith,Peace Activist from Jeju Island and/or South Korea. More details: ipan.australia@gmail.com; Website: http://ipan.org.au

Friday 22 September, 6 pm – Sunday 24 September, 6 pm: Australian Conservation Foundation Convergence 2017. Together, we can mend our world. Do you want to stop Adani's giant, polluting coal mine and be part of the growing community of people prepared to show up and speak out clean energy and our children’s future? Want to make a real difference? Learn skills and connect with people? Be inspired, empowered and energised? Then come along to a weekend of training and community building at Fitzroy Town Hall 22-24 September.  Your ticket includes vegetarian meals, materials and training. Scholarships are available if the cost of attending is a barrier as we want people from all walks of life to participate. Please get in touch with Chris for more information. Build people power: How to run a group with clear and effective roles to support each other, avoid burnout, create good strategy, have more fun; Practice the micro-skills of managing groups, conversations and meetings; How to sustain group involvement and maintain momentum between different campaigns; Increase your skills in advocacy; Build power in an enduring community with shared values that is active on multiple issues that impact our air, water, wildlife and communities; Understand your place as part of an inclusive, diverse and powerful movement, from small local groups to large organisations. Website.


The Joyce Rebeiro Memorial Lecture 

This lecture is in memory of our esteemed parishioner and friend , 
the late Joyce Rebeiro
a woman with strong social justice convictions and the strong courage 
and determination to make a difference.

Joyce’s legacy lives on as she continues to inspire us
to stand together for
Justice Peace and Integrity of Creation
(Editor's Note: 
Justice Peace and Integrity of Creation is a widespread movement within the Catholic Church.
This lecture is being organised by 
St Paul Apostle Parish
5 William Hovell Drive
Endeavour Hills, Vic 3802
26 September 2017
7.30pm to 9.30pm

The guest lecturer will be 
Sister Claire Griffin
Sr Claire Griffin has been a Brigidine Sister for over 40 years and during that time she has lived in different communities around Victoria and ministered as a teacher, a Deanery Resource Person, a Pastoral associate and a resource person with the Columban Mission Society. For the past 10 years she has been involved in International leadership within the Brigidine Congregation as well as doing some facilitation and planning with parish teams, parish councils and other groups. Since 2011 she has been an active member and volunteer with ACRATH (Australian Catholic Religious against Trafficking in Humans).

The event is free but donations toward ACRATH are welcome.

Please register at


In 1988, Joyce Rebeiro took up the groundbreaking position of access and equity officer in the City of Springvale. There she worked in her usual self-effacing manner to defuse racist and intercommunal tensions and was one of the instrumental founders of the faith communities network of Springvale. This was a first for Australia and it evolved into the interfaith network of the City of Greater Dandenong, which is widely recognised as the pre-eminent local government interfaith model in multifaith Australia …


Sunday, 23 July 2017

Buddhist abuse of Muslim Rohingyas in Burma

From the AM website of the ABC

Additional information: 
Rohingyas - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rohingya_people
Also read this Wikipedia entry for Aung San Suu Kyi
In particular, read this section of the W/pedia entry relating to her attitude to the Rohingyas.
Aung San Suu Kyi is clearly not treating the Rohingya people as she herself was treated by people in western countries.  She has received much praise, sympathy and comfort from western countries.  Perhaps because she was of a certain status.  The Rohingyas, as a people, have no status in Myanmar but Aung San Suu Kyi certainly does.  In the Judaic/Christian tradition, there is what is called "The Golden Rule".  Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  This has its equivalence in many other religions and philosophies.  And it does in Buddhism:
560 BC,  From the Udanavarga 5:18-   
"Hurt not others with that which pains yourself."

Fear, mistrust and secret killings - 

Myanmar Rohingyas tell journalists of abuse

Liam Cochrane reported this story on Wednesday, July 19, 2017 08:17:00

Muslims in western Myanmar say men have been burned alive by soldiers, women gang-raped, and children as young as 14 are being jailed on suspicion of terrorism. They've made these allegations to foreign journalists granted rare access to the region. The United Nations are calling it 'possible ethnic cleansing', but the Chief Minister of Rakhine State says it isn't genocide.


Anonymous Rohingya people in Myanmar
U Nyi Pu, Chief Minister of Rakhine State 

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