Busy Interfaith Week for Sydney

June 8, 2012 by Community Editor
Read on for article


The NSW Jewish community has been involved in three successful outreach endeavours during the past week – an innovative Shabbat dinner with leaders of the Chinese community; the third in a series of Jewish-Muslim young executive forums; and the tenth Abraham Conference, which brings together Christian, Muslim and Jewish representatives.

Yair Miller, Garry Browne and Jihad Dib


Khurram Jivani and Ron Elazar

All three events were organised by the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies in conjunction with partner organisations.

Thirty leaders of the Jewish and Chinese communities participated in the Shabbat dinner at the Great Synagogue on Friday night. After attending the Shabbat service, Chief Rabbi Jeremy Lawrence invited the Chinese guests onto the bima, where he explained the many aspects of the service and the Torah and fielded numerous questions about the Jewish faith.

This was followed by a catered dinner in the synagogue’s Israel GreenHall. The Chinese community was represented by senior members of the Chinese Australian Forum and various other organisations.

Sunday’s downpour did nothing to deter 100 Christians, Muslims and Jews from participating in the tenth Abraham Conference, held at the Mary Mackillop Centre in North Sydney. Organised by the Affinity Intercultural Foundation, Uniting Church Synod of NSW and the ACT, Columban Mission Institute, Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney and Board of Deputies, its theme was the place of the family in society and the issues involved in the transmission of faith and tradition.

The guest moderator was The Australian newspaper columnist Angela Shanahan, the keynote speaker Muslim Women’s Association executive officer Maha Abdo and the respondents UnitingCare acting director Claerwen Little and clinical psychologist Amanda Gordon. Board of Deputies chief executive officer Vic Alhadeff chaired the proceedings and Gary Ella, community projects officer at Randwick City Council, recited the Acknowledgement of Country.

On Monday evening 25 Jewish and Muslim young executives gathered around a boardroom table to network and hear from Garry Browne, CEO and Managing Director of Stuart Alexander & Co – a privately owned marketing and distribution company.
“Bridge-building is a core aspect of the work of the Board of Deputies,” Alhadeff said. “In meeting with different sectors of society, we invariably discover that we share similar values and have similar concerns and that if we work together, we all stand to benefit. It makes for a more harmonious and inclusive society.”


3 Responses to “Busy Interfaith Week for Sydney”
  1. michael says:

    Perhaps some one can ask the Muslim Representative why their community continually invite and promote radical high profile Anti- Semitics like Tareq Al Suwaidan who come here to further incite hatred within the Muslim community towards Jews.?

    The Australian
    Mixed messages from touring Muslim lecturer
    BY: ROWAN CALLICK, ASIA-PACIFIC EDITOR From: The Australian June 07, 2012 12:00AM
    Increase Text Size
    Decrease Text Size

    ONE of the Muslim world’s best-known and most successful motivational speakers, Tareq Al Suwaidan, is about to start another tour of Australia, following a sell-out visit two years ago.

    He is a man with two very different messages, however.

    His opening address, this Saturday, will be at the Robert Blackwood hall at Monash University in Melbourne, before further lectures in Melbourne and Sydney, finishing on June 18.

    Dr Suwaidan – his doctorate is in petroleum engineering, from Tulsa University in the US, where he lived for many years – is now based in his home country, Kuwait, with his wife and six children.

    The 58-year-old earns more than $1 million a year from his talks and TV shows.

    His CD Lives of the Prophets has sold well over two million copies, and his two-day management courses cost $500 a head.

    His Australian tour is organised by Human Appeal International, which describes itself as “a non-governmental humanitarian organisation seeking funds from supporters to assist in providing services to thousands of poor and needy people”.

    Dr Suwaidan – who lectures in English in Australia – is a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in Kuwait, and general manager of Al-Resalah (The Message), an Arabic language satellite TV station funded by Prince al-Waleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia.

    He presents himself to English-speaking audiences as moderate, a supporter of free speech and freedom of religion.

    But what he has said elsewhere points to a darker program.

    He asked rhetorically on an Arabic TV station a year ago: “Is what I am doing any less important than jihad?”

    In an interview for Al-Quds, a TV station affiliated with Hamas, he said 10 weeks ago: “I can change the positions of some Westerners, but at the end of the day, power lies with the politicians, who are influenced by two things only: money and the media, both of which are controlled by the Jews.

    “So we must not rely on Western aid or on Western popular sympathy. These are minor things. We rely upon Allah and then upon our armed resistance in obtaining our rights.”

    He said his foremost cause is that of Palestine and Jerusalem. “The most dangerous thing facing the Muslims is not the (Arab) dictatorships. The absolutely most dangerous thing is the Jews. They are the greatest enemy.”

    At a conference of the Islamic Circle of North America in 2000 he said: “We must tell the West that we are extending a hand of peace now, but it will not be so for long.

    “Even if a civilisation is ready to crumble – like the West, with all the characteristics of deterioration of past fallen empires – it will not fall until we, the Muslims, strive to give it that last push, the last straw that will break the camel’s back.”

    Ali Kazak, the then representative of the Palestinian Authority in Australia, told ABC TV’s Lateline in 2003: “I have stopped giving (Human Appeal International) any donations. People should not give a contribution until it makes it public and clear as to how much it collects and where the money is going.”

    Five years after this, Israel’s Defence Minister Ehud Barak banned 36 funds around the world, including HAI Australia, that were deemed “part of Hamas’s fund-raising network”.

    But Sydney-based Bashar al-Jamal, the Australian manager of HAI, said yesterday: “We believe strongly that Dr Suwaidan is one of the heads of moderation in the Middle East, and his approach is friendly, trying to tackle things from a smart, peaceful approach.

    “Two years ago he really contributed positively, and our community benefited from him a lot. It’s crucial for us as a humanitarian organisation that we invite people promoting moderation and harmony, and those ethical values we are really behind.”

    He said that as the leader of HAI since it started in Australia in 1991, “I’d challenge anyone if they can show we have any relation with Hamas”.

    “This (the claims of Hamas links) is just lies and accusations.”

    He said HAI had started working with Syrian refugees in Lebanon and Jordan.

    Dr Suwaidan is speaking on Monday at a “Syria fundraising dinner” in the Prime Minister’s constituency in Altona North.

    The HAI website explains that “Syria is in the midst of a tragic crisis as a result of the internal conflict . . . The cold winter is taking its toll on their hope for peace and they are relying on you to help them”.

    A spokeswoman for Monash University said: “Monash is not hosting this conference nor does it have any affiliation with this organisation. The booking was made and charged as per any booking for the Robert Blackwood Hall by community groups etc. We do not endorse the topics or presenters, and have simply provided a venue space.”

    Hamas’s Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades have been proscribed as a terrorist organisation by Australia, but not the Hamas organisation itself.

  2. Shirlee says:

    Yes, Otto my love!! Ich vershtaist
    Ich weiss nicht ‘shtimme’ Vus ret ir epes?

    I seem to have ‘misplaced’ your email address, I had a comment I wanted to make to you, on another topic. I asked Henry for it, it never materialised. if you still have mine send me an email please.

  3. Oh yeah, I know that “bridge”. I crossed it once. It started, one head at the Sydney Jewish Museum and, after some 10 kilometres of stubborn crossing, it ended up at Jewish House.

    Spare me your “funny” comments re why I should have ended up at Jewish House etc.


    To return the favour, I reckon that our newly found Muslim friends will invite us to one of the Naqba marches they will organise up & down George St. CBD .
    C’mon Shirlee, don’t just sit there, can’t you see how sarcastic I am trying to be !! Not shtimmel.

Speak Your Mind

Comments received without a full name will not be considered
Email addresses are NEVER published! All comments are moderated. J-Wire will publish considered comments by people who provide a real name and email address. Comments that are abusive, rude, defamatory or which contain offensive language will not be published

Got something to say about this?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.