Monday, 30 November 2015

A globalised world in which Christians and Muslims constitute 50% of the population can the work together for peace and justice?

Christians and Muslims in our Globalised World: The Ecumenical and Interfaith Commission
The Ecumenical and Interfaith Commission, the Australian Intercultural Society and the Australian Catholic University would like to invite you to:
Christians and Muslims in our Globalised World
Date: Friday 4 December 2015      Time: 5:30pm for a 6:00pm start to 7:30pm
Location: Phillipa Brazil Lecture Theatre, Australian Catholic University (ACU), 115 Victoria Parade, Melbourne

Keynote Speaker: Professor John Esposito, Director, Centre for Christian-Muslim Relations, Georgetown University. 
University Professor, Professor of Religion and International Affairs and of Islamic Studies at Georgetown University, John L. Esposito is Founding Director of the Alwaleed Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding in the Walsh School of Foreign Service. Previously, he was Loyola Professor of Middle East Studies, College of the Holy Cross. Esposito’s more than 45 books include: The Future of Islam, Islamophobia and the Challenge of Pluralism in the 21st Century, Who Speaks for Islam? What a Billion Muslims Really Think (with Dalia Mogahed), Unholy War: Terror in the Name of Islam, The Islamic Threat: Myth or Reality?, and Islam and Politics.

Muslims and Christians make up more than 50% of the world's population. How they related to one another is pivotal in establishing and maintainging world peace. Are Muslims and Christians working towards uniting humanity or are they directly or indirectly causing more division? Can they work together to address contemporary issues of global magnitude? How can the ideals of interfaith dialogue transform the on-the-ground reality of relations between Christians and Muslims around the globe and particularly here in multi-faith Australia?
Q-A Session will follow the address
All are welcome. 

RSVP: or call 03 9867 8842

Friday, 27 November 2015

To-morrow, #Ballarat let's #Paris know it means business....

Picture from here

Think of it as pilgrimage - a #Ballarat pilgrimage - if you will.
The worldwide People's Climate March
comes to Ballarat to-morrow.
We gather at the corner of Sturt and Armstrong Streets
at 2pm Saturday 28 November.
Then we will walk the short distance
down to Camp Street where there will be speakers.
Let #Paris know that #Ballarat
is serious about getting a good deal for our planet,
a safe future for the people of the world. 

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Faith Communities Council of Victoria - Statement on Climate Change : #Ballarat's Climate March on Saturday 28 November

Statement on Climate Change: 
Faith Communities Council of Victoria

(Please pass on to your respective networks)

The Faith Communities Council of Victoria (FCCV) has issued the following statement on the eve of world leaders meeting in Paris for the United Nations climate summit (Nov 30-Dec 11), and the People’s Climate March scheduled in Melbourne @ 5.30pm Friday 27 November at the State Library:

From The Editor of  Beside The Creek:
Please note there is a march and rally in Ballarat on Saturday 28 November. Please go here for more information.

As representatives of many religious traditions and different faiths, we stand together in our moral obligation to care for sacred Earth, the most vulnerable people and all human life as a gift entrusted to our common care as we are confronted by the growing impacts of climate change in all corners of the world.

More extreme weather events disrupt food production and water security, exacerbate hunger, cause economic insecurity and forced displacement. We share a common concern for nature and for global social justice, and are deeply concerned that climate change is a threat to precious human life, and to the survival of humanity unless strong and urgent action is taken to address the causes.

We acknowledge the overwhelming scientific evidence that climate change is human induced, and that the failure to address its root causes will result in impacts escalating in intensity and frequency, especially amongst the world's poor and vulnerable who are already bearing the burden disproportionately.

We want world leaders to listen and act decisively for a just transition to clean energy. Australia has the technological and economic capacity to deliver this life-preserving transformation, and it is an opportunity to play our part in addressing the common environmental challenge humanity faces.

Across Victoria's faith communities, we share the call for Australia's and the world's leaders meeting in Paris in December for the United Nations climate summit to act with courage and compassion to address the fundamental drivers of climate change, to care for sacred Earth, and to protect the most vulnerable.

Faith Communities Council of Victoria is comprised of the following peak bodies: Baha'i Community of Victoria, Brahma Kumaris Australia, Buddhist Council of Victoria, Hindu Community Council of Victoria, Islamic Council of Victoria, Jewish Community Council of Victoria, Sikh Interfaith Council of Victoria and Victorian Council of Churches.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015


·      NOVEMBER 24, 2015 12:00AM


Children as young as 11 are being taught skills to identify and ­respond to online racism as a growing number of extremists take advantage of social media to promote messages of hate.
The B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation Commission runs Click Against Hate in more than 60 schools across Victoria for ­students in Years 5 to 10.
“(The internet is) an ideal ­vehicle for those who want to disseminate hatred, bigoted rants, lies, bullying, conspiracy theories and even calls for violence, and thus provides a mask to individual users to unburden themselves anonymously,” chairman Dvir Abramovich said.
“Now, every extremist has a platform and a megaphone through websites, Facebook or YouTube. Young adults are therefore more vulnerable than ever.”
Dr Abramovich said anti-Semitism, Islamphobia, homophobia, misogyny and other cultural and racial prejudices were on the rise because there was an epidemic of internet hate which was easily ­accessible by students of all ages.
He said the children were often exposed when there were no adults present and so young ­people must be prepared to stand up for each other. He said while schools had good intentions of combating racism and prejudice, it often wasn’t their top priority, or they didn’t have the resources to ensure that anti-bias and diversity education were an integral part of the school curriculum.
“Cyber hate and extremist views migrate and are translated into conduct in the schoolyard ­because such material incites against minorities, and because students tend to verbalise and act out the racist views they absorb online on real-world victims,” Dr Abramovich said.
“Hate material creates anger and occasionally promotes violent acts against people of other races and religions.”
In southeast Melbourne, Stonnington Primary School Year 6 student Isabella said racism was a major problem that affected a lot of people but often seemed to be overlooked.
She said that while she didn’t think it was very common for children her age to be affected by racism she thought they might come across it when they reached high school and became more ­active on social media.
Fellow student Erin said she had witnessed online racism a few times, especially after the Paris ­terrorist attacks.
“I feel like online bullying can be more common because you can hide behind a screen and don’t have to face people or suffer consequences,” she said.

For more information about Click against Hate click here

Our mailing address is:
B'nai B'rith Anti-Defamation Commission
306 Hawthorn Rd
Caulfield South, Vic 3162

03 9272 5677

Website   Facebook    YouTube   Email

Monday, 23 November 2015

Into very dark times, lights of hope can still shine .... this courtesy of a Sikh taxi driver

COURTESY THE TIMES OF INDIA( NOV 15)By my journalist friend Gurpal Singh Askh.Sikh's help tweet shines on a day of...

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

An Interfaith service for Victims of Terrorism in Paris & Beirut: Christ Church Anglican Cathedral, #Ballarat 6pm 19 November 2015

Everyone is invited to attend
an Interfaith Service
for the Victims of Terrorism
in Paris and Beirut
at Christ Church Anglican Cathedral,
49 Lydiard Street South, Ballarat
6pm Thursday 19 November 2015

Please feel free to download the above poster
and distribute as widely as possible.

Christ Church Anglican Cathedral, Ballarat

Ballarat Interfaith Networks Annual Tree of Life - One Voice : this year at beautiful Buninyong : 21 Nov 10am to 3pm

Tree of Life - One Voice ---- 
Ballarat Interfaith Network
Building Bridges of Understanding
 Saturday 21st November 10-­3pm 
Buninyong Town Hall
BIN: Aims to provide opportunities to communicate, celebrate, learn and enrich our understanding of people of all faiths within the Ballarat community
Link to document here
Programme Outline 
Saturday 21st Nov 2015
Buninyong Town Hall in Learmonth St, Buninyong

10am – 3pm 
Art exhibition, various faith information stalls, bonsai exhibition, coffee & cake. 
Also Hazara Tea House.

10am ‑10.30am 
Phoenix P-­12 Community College Choir.

10.30am - 11am: 
Josh Wilkins’ Shower Bus for the homeless

12.30pm -‑1.30pm: 
Phoenix P-­12 Community College Band.

1.30pm - 2pm: 
Nick Withers’ band
Maybe the Music.
Pavement lunch, 12-1.30pm: 
Learmonth St, Buninyong
Viewable Facebook link 

Uniting Church in Learmonth Street, Buninyong
Baha’i community
Soul Food programme, together with Geoffrey Williams’ Soul Choir

11.30 am: 
Murray Lobley
Significance of the Tree of Life to 
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Islamic Society of Ballarat – address & Q & A

In Uniting Church grounds
• Walk the meditation labyrinth
• Enjoy a family picnic on the lawn
• Decorate the interfaith Tree of Life

Buninyong Botanical Gardens 
in Scott Street in 'The Village'
Guided informative tour of the Botanical Gardens


Release of Peace Balloons

Ballarat Interfaith Network contacts
Elham Jamali: Chairperson 
Mobile: 0421 001 363
Maureen Doonan: Exec. Secretary 
Mobile: 0418 383 802
Margaret Lenan Ellis: Public Relations Officer 
Mobile: 0400 650 234


Ballarat Interfaith Network

One Voice for Aussie Youth Inc

City of Ballarat


Interfaith Groups


Islamic Society of Ballarat

Christian Church groups


Community Groups

Buninyong Botanical Gardens

One Voice for Aussie Youth Inc. - Mobile Shower Bus

Espresso Depot

Emmaus Primary School: Art Exhibition
Ballarat Bonsai Society
Phoenix P-12 CommunityCollege Band & choir
Nick Wither’s Band: Mainly the Music
Geoffrey William’s Daylesford choir: Soul Choir


Tuesday, 17 November 2015

The Interfaith Service of Remembrance for those who were killed in #Beirut and #Paris will be held at 6pm on Thursday 19 November 2015.

Could readers of Beside The Creek, please note. There was not an awareness of the killings in Beirut when this story was done. The candle lighting part of the service at the Cathedral will include 44 candles for those killed in the Beirut attacks in addition to the 129 candles for those killed in Paris. The condolence books will include one for France and one for Lebanon.

A poignant candlelight vigil and service will be held in the city this week to remember victims of the Paris terrorism attacks.

In the wake of the tragedy, the Ballarat Interfaith Network will hold a service for people of all faiths at the Christ Church Anglican Cathedral on Thursday evening. BIN public relations officer Margaret Lenan Ellis said it was a way to draw the community together in act of love and hope.

A candle will be lit for each of the 129 victims of the terrorist attacks. Anyone attending the event, will also be able write personal messages in a condolence book which will be sent to the French embassy in Canberra in the coming weeks.

 “People will be able to write their own messages for peace, hope and forgiveness in the book,” Ms Lenan Ellis said. “We want it to be a way for people to counteract any messages of hate... to stand together in solidarity and peace, in the name of humanity. People of any faith are welcome to attend the service. It is open to everybody in the community.”

Ms Lenan Ellis said it was also crucial recent events did not further isolate the city’s Muslim community.
“We need to try and dispel any prejudices which surround people of Islamic faith that could be further fuelled by these attacks,” Ms Lenan Ellis said.
Her sentiment was echoed by Ballarat Regional Multicultural Council chairman Dr Sundram Sivamalai who urged the Islamic community not to remain silent.
“This violence is not was Islam represents,” Dr Sivamalai said. “It is not what Islam preaches and I would urge the Muslims leaders to have a voice in this tragedy.”

Victims will also be remembered at the Interfaith Network’s Tree of Life – One Voice project which will be held on November 21 between 10am and 3pm at the Buninyong Town Hall and the Uniting Church. 

Blue, white and red balloons will be released into the sky at the end of the Tree of Life event to remember those lost and symbolise hope for the future 
 The vigil will be held on Thursday from 6pm 
at the Christ Church Anglican Cathedral 
at 49 Lydiard Street Ballarat.

Senator di Richard di Natale: #Paris, #Beirut, War, Fear, Hate, Challenges, Peace, War, Climate

The post below has been cross-posted from the blog, Advocacy.

A friend of mine as received the following letter from Senator Richard di Natale:

Dear Ian,

Our thoughts are with the people of Paris and indeed all the victims of recent tragedies brought on by war, fear, and hate.

The challenges facing our world are enormous. The events that unfolded in Paris and Beirut over recent days show just how much more work needs to be done to achieve lasting peace and democracy around the globe. 
The perpetrators of these heinous crimes must be brought to justice and we must redouble our efforts to find a political solution to the conflict in Syria. But we must resist the urge to lash out in anger or retribution because that risks making a terrible situation worse. Hate is the problem, not the answer. 
We are already seeing those who are trying to escape terror and violence in their homelands blamed for the atrocities of others. Now more than ever we need to stand up for people fleeing violence rather than turning our backs on them. If we don't stand up for the families escaping this cruelty and brutality, who will? 
We are a movement who believe firmly that there is hope for humanity and the planet. Now more than ever we must come together and not let these hateful actions divide us. 
Many of us are reeling from the events of the last week. Our hearts go out to the families and friends who have lost people they love, and whose lives have been irreparably changed.

When Senator Larissa Waters and I go to Paris in two weeks for the global climate talks, we will take messages of hope with us from Australia and deliver them to the French and Lebanese representatives.

I would love to take as many messages as I can from Greens members, supporters and friends around Australia.

I look forward to including your words when we deliver those messages in Paris.

Always with hope,

Richard Di Natale

Monday, 16 November 2015

Faith Communities Council of Victoria (FCCV): Statement re #Paris and #Beirut

14th of November, 2015
Statement on acts of violence in Paris and Beirut
The Faith Communities Council of Victoria has issued the following statement in response to the recent acts of violence in Paris and Beirut: 
As leaders and people of faith, we offer our prayers and sympathies to family members and loved ones of those killed and wounded in Paris and Beirut. The loss of innocent life is senseless and we pray for the victims of these horrible attacks.
We unequivocally condemn these callous and senseless acts of violence - no belief, cause, or grievance justifies such acts of violence. We pray that the perpetrators are found and brought to justice.
We must remember these acts are committed by extremists, who although claim to be Muslims, do not represent the mainstream Muslim approach to religion or sanctity of life.
Faith Communities Council of Victoria is comprised of the following peak bodies:
Baha'i Community of Victoria, Brahma Kumaris Australia, Buddhist Council of Victoria, 
Hindu Community Council of Victoria, Islamic Council of Victoria, 
Jewish Community Council of Victoria, Sikh Interfaith Council of Victoria and Victorian Council of Churches.