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The Qld Forum for Christians, Jews and Muslims stresses unity, not division


Representatives of the Queensland Forum for Christians, Jews and Muslims have expressed deep regret at the injuries caused by the comments of Sheikh Feiz Mohammed published on DVD and in the Australian media on 18th January.

Yet despite the hurdles to interfaith dialogue posed by such incidents, the three communities pledged yesterday to continue to work together.

The representatives of the three faith communities agreed statements of hatred cause great pain to the communities targeted by the words – in this case particularly the Jewish community.

"Such statements are also a source of extreme embarrassment to the peace-loving majority of the members of the faith community to which their author belongs, and the fear of a backlash can inhibit their participation in public life," said Queensland Churches together Generaol Secretary Ms Glenine Hamlyn. 

The Queensland Forum for Christians, Jews and Muslims made up of representatives of Queensland Churches Together, the Queensland Jewish Board of Deputies and the Islamic Council of Queensland has been meeting regularly for over two years

One of their aims being to “support each other in times of difficulty”. Now this ideal is being put to the test. Can people of Christian, Jewish and Muslim persuasion in Queensland really manage to “be a model of how different faiths can live harmoniously together”, as the Forum would like to be? It makes it harder to “build understanding, good will and a sense of community between people of different faiths” when an extremist in one of their communities causes painful divisions between them.

The key to achieving these objectives, say the members of the Forum, is to keep talking to each other with as much honesty and respect as possible, without skirting the difficult issues.

At the beginning of Wednesday’s meeting, the subject of Sheik Feiz Mohammed’s comments was raised almost immediately, yet without rancour or polemical intent.

A frank discussion ensued. Members of the Forum resolved that now more than ever they should display their determination to work together “to encourage interfaith dialogue at all levels in an atmosphere of mutual respect and understanding, without the imposition of a specific set of beliefs”, to quote one of their key objectives.

The Queensland Forum for Christians, Jews and Muslim is planning a number of activities during 2007 including a joint cultural event and educational initiatives for schools.