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A major Islamic festival is scheduled for 15–17 March in Melbourne. The event, called the ‘Australian Islamic Peace Conference’, will be held at the Melbourne Showgrounds. Islamic organisations and imams from across Australia are involved with the event, which is being organised by the Islamic Research and Education Academy (IREA).
Billboards are now going up around Melbourne and people are expressing concern about the conference.
The organisers say it will be the ''largest, the biggest and the best-ever Islamic event in the history of Australia'' and are expecting 20,000 Muslims and others to attend. Waseem Razi, of IREA, says the conference aims to “unite Islamic organisations’, “build bridges between Muslims and mainstream Australia” and to “build bridges to secular authorities” (they’ve invited politicians, police and the Lord Mayor!).
On the Aussie Muslims website, Mr Razi says, this is “the need of the Hour - Unity of Muslim Ummah. This will be the first time that the entire Ummah of Australia will be truly coming together.” In the lead-up to the conference, organisers plan to train 1,000 Muslims in ''dawah'' or proselytism for Islam.
The conference will feature Muslim speakers – however, a range of people from other faiths (including Anglican and Catholic Archbishops) have also been invited to participate in an ‘Interfaith Dialogue’ in an effort to promote ‘’interfaith harmony’.
Along with numerous international speakers, one of the featured attractions is Dr Abdul Rahman al-Sudais, the imam at the mosque in Mecca.
In December 2012 there was an article about the conference in The Age, by religion writer Barney Zwartz, reporting on this conference. In the article, Dr Mark Durie, an expert on Islam, expressed concern at the inclusion of Dr al-Sudais. He pointed out that the imam has made strident statements against Jews, calling for their annihilation and referring to them as 'scum' and ''rats'. The article reported that Dr Durie said he 'believes Dr al-Sudais should be refused a visa.' The Age headline said 'Fiery imam invited to speak here'.
The organisers responded, saying the imam wouldn’t be ‘speaking’ – he would just be reciting the Koran in Arabic!
In his blog, Mark Durie elaborated on what Dr al-Sudais said about Jews; that Dr al-Sudais had referred to them as “‘the scum of the human race, rats of the world, violators of pacts and agreements, murderers of the prophets, and grandsons of apes and pigs’ (see here for a contemporary Kuwaiti news report, and here for MEMRI’s translation).” (Link to Mark's blog.)
Dr Durie gave details of passages from the Koran that speak unfavourably about the Jews in the way the imam does – and asked if the imam will be reciting those passages at the ‘Peace Conference’.
Mark concluded, “What sense are the people of Melbourne meant to make of the proposition that they needn’t worry that the preacher has called for the annihilation of Jews, because he was only speaking Arabic?
"If something is offensive in English, it is no less offensive in classical Arabic, however expertly and mellifluously it may be intoned.”
Please PRAY and ACT about this conference -
Pray that Australians will be discerning about the 'peace' message of this conference.
Media report: Fiery imam invited to speak here - The Age, 12 Dec 2012.
Dr Mark Durie’s article: Hatred Sounds Sweeter in Arabic?, Dec 14, 2012.
The parliaments of France and the United Kingdom have both voted on the issue of same-sex ‘marriage’ this week. In both cases, the initial votes have supported same-sex ‘marriage’. Full details on the votes below...
Activists in Australia are already claiming that the tide is turning and that Australia needs to ‘catch up’ by legalising same-sex ‘marriage'.
PLEASE VOTE NOW: Today’s Yahoo poll highlights the continuing push…
The poll is on the Yahoo website under the heading ‘Today’s poll’ (It is under the headlines section - or search for ‘poll’.)
The question: Should Australia pass gay marriage legislation?
Please vote NO! The current vote is Yes 45% (5639); No 55% (6980)
This report provides details on the votes in the UK and France, the threat to the church, and the continuing push for same-sex ‘marriage’ in Australia.
1. France – same-sex ‘marriage’ vote
France’s National Assembly took its first vote on the controversial same-sex ‘marriage’ Bill this week. The National Assembly voted 249-97 in favour of ‘Article 1’ of the Bill – which re-defines marriage as being an ‘agreement between two people’ rather than between ‘a man and a woman’.
The Bill will be debated for another week – up to 5,000 amendments have been proposed by conservatives. The legislation also includes adoption and parenting rights. Initially, Francois Hollande’s Socialist government proposed labelling parents as ‘Parent 1’ and ‘Parent 2’ on their children’s birth certificates – but they have now conceded that heterosexual parents can have the option of retaining ‘mother’ and ‘father’.
2. UK House of Commons votes for same-sex ‘marriage’
The UK's Conservative government, led by Prime Minister David Cameron, is pushing same-sex ‘marriage’ through the parliament. The UK House of Commons voted on the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill on 5 February – the Bill passed by 400 votes to 175.
But 136 of the 303 Conservative Party MPs OPPOSED the Bill, including two cabinet ministers, eight junior ministers, and eight whips. “Of the remaining Conservative MPs, 127 were in favour, 35 did not vote, and five registered an abstention by voting both in favour and against.”
This was the second reading (in principle support) vote. Aspects of the Bill will be examined in detail and then a third reading, or final, vote will be taken. If passed by the House, the Bill will then go to the UK House of Lords.
The Conservative government ignored the petition signed by 600,000 people opposing it. Prime Minister David Cameron also ignored the challenge from the new Archbishop of Canterbury, the Rt Rev Justin Welby, who said, on his first day in his new office this week, that marriage should remain "between a man and a woman". Media report – Telegraph.
The opposition to same-sex ‘marriage’ has been growing - the Church of England sent an 8 page Briefing Paper to every MP, warning of the problems and opposing the same-sex ‘marriage’ Bill. Many sections of the Conservative Party opposed the move. The Telegraph reported, “A group of 20 Tory constituency chairmen delivered a letter of protest to Downing Street warning the Prime Minister that the reform could cause "significant damage" to Tory election chances in 2015."
Christian Concern reports that more MPs voted against the Bill than expected – more Conservatives voted against it than for it; and some Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs voted against the Bill, despite pressure to support the Bill.
Christian Concern says that there is still a long way to go before same-sex ‘marriage’ becomes law in the UK. They urge those in the UK to contact their MPs – and to pray about this issue.
Praying is something we can do as well, here in Australia!
- Christian Concern - Report on the vote.
- Briefing Paper prepared by the Coalition For Marriage - This 14 page Briefing provides an excellent overview of the issue.
- List of MP votes
- Media reports of the vote - BBC
3. Threat to the church
The legislation says that churches will not be forced to ‘marry’ same-sex couples. However, concern has been expressed that homosexuals may lodge complaints about ‘discrimination’ by churches and that the law may be challenged in the European Court of Human Rights.
Already homosexuals in the UK are saying they want to get ‘married’ in Church of England churches. The media is happy to assist their cause. One male couple, who said they had been together for 25 years and had five children through surrogacy, were interviewed on ABC News and 7.30 (watch and/or read transcript). They said they were ‘practicing Christians’ and they wanted to get ‘married “in the eyes of God” in their local village church!
Although the Church of England has opposed same-sex ‘marriage’, they recently allowed homosexuals, who are in a civil union, to be a bishop (so long as they followed the Church’s guidelines on sex only within marriage!).
4. The continuing campaign in Australia
Media reports in Australia have highlighted the British vote. Ironically, we were recently told that, when Australia rejected same-sex ‘marriage’ last year, the British mainstream press hardly mentioned it!
Australian homosexual activist Alex Greenwich is already using the UK vote to say that conservatives should change their view on same-sex ‘marriage’ in Australia. He said, "It would be great to see (Federal Opposition Leader) Tony Abbott showing the same leadership on this reform as a conservative leader. It is embarrassing that Australia now continues to fall behind the rest of the English-speaking world when it comes to marriage equality.” (Media report – Daily Telegraph)
The ABC interviewed Peter Tatchell, an Australian homosexual activist living in the UK. Naturally, he used the opportunity to urge Australia to pass similar laws. Peter Tatchell is the co-ordinator of the UK’s ‘Equal Love’ campaign which is calling for same-sex ‘marriage’.
Ironically, ten years ago Peter Tatchell was very critical of homosexuals who wanted ‘marriage’. Brendan O’Neill wrote a very insightful article last year about Tatchell’s change of ‘policy’. O’Neill wrote, “What a turnaround! Ten years ago he wrote a brilliant, blistering assault on gay rights activists who demanded the right to marry, denouncing their desire to “embrace traditional heterosexual aspirations” and slamming them for having “succumbed to the Blairite politics of conformism, respectability and moderation”. He railed against the “career campaigners” who had “infused the gay movement with their own cautious respectable values”. They “crave acceptance and advancement”, he said, which is why they forefront “safe, cuddly issues like gay marriage”.”
Read Brendan O’Neill’s article.
This isn't the only thing he's changed his mind about! Peter Tatchell also USED to say that homosexuality was NOT genetic (read the article on his website). However, in a recent debate, Tatchell claimed that it IS genetic. Peter Saunders, of the Christian Medical Fellowship notes that Peter Tatchell takes whatever view is "politically convenient at the time"! (Read article)
Interestingly, Rodney Croome, the new co-ordinator of Australian Marriage Equality (the main Australian group of campaigning for same-sex ‘marriage’), used to promote the Tasmanian Relationship Register as being “beyond marriage”, saying he was “an advocate of civil union schemes that go beyond marriage (source) rather than meagrely imitating it.” At the same time, he acknowledged that some people may want full ‘marriage’. (Article, Article)
Stay tuned for updates (in our E-News) on the further votes in both the UK and France. Please pray about the votes to be held next week in France and the UK.
Please continue to be vigilant about this issue in Australia.
The homosexual activists will continue campaigning behind the scenes – as well as in public!
We must continue to communicate our concerns to our politicians.
If you didn’t VOTE on the Yahoo poll, please vote NOW – click here.
The federal government's proposed anti-discrimination law has attracted more controversy this week. The Salvation Army said they would rather use resources to help the needy than defend itself against claims that they insulted someone!
The Senate Committee received 590 submissions to their Inquiry and is currently holding public hearings before preparing their Report.
- The submissions are all online - to read them click here.
- For our Campaign page on this issue, click here.
This report covers:
- an article by the Australian Human Rights Commission President.
- a 'debate' on ABC's 7.30,
- statements by FOUR law experts who have spoken out against the federal government's proposed anti-discrimination laws saying they will restrict free speech and could be unconstitutional.
Article by AHRC President
Perhaps most interesting is the article by Australian Human Rights Commission president Gillian Triggs. Although she fully supports the intent of the bill, she admits that the bill does "arguably go too far" when it makes it unlawful to offend or insult others. She suggests that this should be changed.
However, her main reason for proposing the change is to ensure the rest of the 'reforms' are passed!
Read her opinion article: Tweaking the draft bill could preserve core reforms
Debate on the ABC's 7.30 program
In a segment on the ABC's 7.30 program, the government's representative Mark Dreyfus claimed the government was simply 'consolidating' what was already the law. However, the Coalition's George Brandis said there are many NEW aspects - he pointed out that 'insult or offend' relating to ordinary discrimination is new (previously for most attributes, except for sex, it referred to 'unequal treatment' in limited areas) and 'political opinion' is also new - as is the introduction of 'reverse onus'. Then there is the addition of the attributes of sexual orientation and gender identity - but that wasn't mentioned!
Watch the segment / read the transcript - click here.
Law experts oppose Bill
The Australian has reported that Dr Augusto Zimmermann, research dean and Senior Lecturer in Law at Murdoch University, and law lecturer Mrs Lorraine Finlay have pointed out, in their submission to the Inquiry, that the proposed law will severely limit free speech. The inclusion of 'political opinion' with the 'offend or insult' provision creates severe limitations which they say could be unconstitutional.
Read their 12 page submission - click here (then scroll to NO 410).
The article in The Australian begins: "CONCERNS are growing that Labor's draft anti-discrimination laws are unconstitutional, with experts deeming they would breach the implied freedom of political debate and demanding that they be scrapped in their current form. Murdoch University research dean Augusto Zimmermann and law lecturer Lorraine Finlay are the latest academics to flag problems with the bill. They say it would make it unlawful for the first time to discriminate on the basis of "political opinions", which would interfere with freedom of speech and political debate. They also say the legislation violates the "basic principles of the rule of law" and undermines natural justice by reversing the onus of proof so the defendant in any claim has to justify their actions or behaviour....
Read article: Draft laws 'impede political debate'
Earlier this week, The Australian reported that a wide range of people and organisations are concerned about the draconian nature of the law. They said that Professor Nicholas Aroney and Professor Patrick Parkinson, both experts in constitutional law, had expressed concern about the constitutionality of the law.
The article reports that the Salvation Army says it would 'rather use resources to help the needy than defend claims against people who say they've been insulted.'
Nicola Roxon's laws 'can ensnare everyone', The Australian, 21/1/2013.
Read the 11 page submission by Professor Nicholas Aroney and Professor Patrick Parkinson - click here.
This proposed federal anti-discrimination law is one of the key issues we are facing as we begin this year - it is VITAL that we understand WHAT is being proposed and are aware of the IMPLICATIONS and take action to OPPOSE it!
Federal anti-discrimination law & President Obama
We hope you are enjoying your January - with less 'politics' to deal with.
Peter and I have been busy clearing his office (and moving mine) and culling files in our filing cabinets!
At the end of January we will start our new regular email service (more details then!)
In the meantime, those involved in politics DO NOT REST! Here are just two examples...
Federal discrimination law
The federal Senate Committee conducting an Inquiry into the federal government's proposed anti-discrimination law is holding public hearings this week - Melbourne on 23 Jan and Sydney on 24 Jan.
First on the list in Melbourne are Liberty Victoria and the Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby - not surprisingly, both of these are supporting the law!
Homosexual groups, along with GetUp! and the Greens, are critical of the exceptions (or exemptions) given to religious groups and are campaigning for even more restrictions on our free speech! Christian groups are defending the proposed exceptions.
USA - Inauguration and beliefs
In the USA, politics enters a new phase with the inauguration of Barack Obama for his second term as US President.
Two items of note. . .
1. Inauguration prayer
The White House had invited US pastor, Louie Giglio, to give the benediction at Mr Obama's inauguration and he had accepted. Apparently he was invited because of the work he has done to combat human trafficking around the world.
Then a pro-homosexual website, Think Progress, posted a sermon that Mr Giglio gave in the mid-1990s which said Christians should "lovingly but firmly respond to the aggressive agenda of not all, but of many in the homosexual community... Underneath this issue is a very powerful and aggressive moment." He said homosexuality was a sin during the sermon.
The homosexuals were NOT happy!
Pastor Giglio then wrote to the President, removing himself from the inauguration ceremony. He wrote, "Clearly, speaking on this issue has not been in the range of my priorities in the past fifteen years. Instead, my aim has been to call people to ultimate significance as we make much of Jesus Christ." He wrote, "Neither I, nor our team, feel it best serves the core message and goals we are seeking to accomplish to be in a fight on an issue not of our choosing."
The White House then said they would someone else, and "ensure their beliefs reflect this administration's vision of inclusion and acceptance for all Americans."
They have now chosen an Episcopal minister who affirms homosexuality, Rev. Dr. Luis León of St johns Church in Washington to say the benediction prayer.
Read Christian Post reports - click here and click here.
More on Louie Giglio's response at Christian Today.
Comment: While the White House's response is not surprising, we wondered why the group Think Progress had to go back to the "mid-1990s" to find a statement on homosexuality by Louie Giglio - after all, that is around 17 years ago!
2. Secondly, what does President Obama really believe?
We know that he now supports same-sex 'marriage' and abortion. . .
However, sometimes what he says does not match his beliefs.
Last week, Cameron, our Resistance Thinking co-ordinator, posted this insightful video prepared by the March for Life organisation. The video features statements from President Obama.
Click here to watch the video on Resistance Thinking.
An amazing protest rally was held in France last weekend. Conservative estimates put the number of people in the hundreds of thousands. The BBC reported that the organisers estimated there were 800,000 people whilst police said the figure was closer to 340,000. Even at this lower figure, which many commentators say is far too low, that is a HUGE turnout by the French people!
What would it take to get that many people protesting on the streets in an Australian city?
The people were protesting against the proposal by Francois Hollande, the socialist President of France who came to power in May 2012, to legalise same-sex 'marriage' and adoption in France. Prior to his election he promised to pass the law by mid-2013. The draft law was approved by the French government in November 2012, and is expected to be put to into the Parliament during January. The government also plans to remove the words 'mother' and 'father' from the legal code, replacing them with 'parent'!
Despite the huge protest, President Hollande is unmoved - he says his government will push ahead, with plans to introduce the law to parliament on 29 January.
Brian Brown, President of the National Organisation for Marriage (based in the USA) was in France at the rally. He said it was the largest rally so far against the government's proposals, and that some people carried placards reading ""Une papa, une maman pour TOUS les enfants! — which means "A dad, a mom for ALL children."
See NOM's photos of the rally - click here.
Interestingly, some homosexuals are opposing the move to legalise same-sex 'marriage'.
NOM reports that the website homovox.com has posted their comments. They were first published in "unofficial translations published by Robert Oscar Lopez at American Thinker.
Robert describes himself as the 'son of a lesbian' - we circulated his own story last year.
For example, one of these homosexual men is Jean Pier: a 49-year-old self-described homosexual filmmaker...
His comments are posted at NOM.
He says, "I am a documentary author for TV and I'm homosexual. I have to wonder, "who's this law for?" I say to myself, "Is it made for homosexuals?" I live in Provence and I work in Paris. I know very few homosexuals who wish to marry beyond the PACS (civil unions) they already have. In fact, the number of people in PACS unions in France, couples of the same sex, is minimal. Therefore, who's this law for? If it's for the 5,000 people who live in the district of Le Marrais, then it's just a militant act. But behind it all, it must be a question of the child. I've had this business of freedom and equality. Then I pose this question: What of the freedom and equality of the child? The child won't have its equality vis-a-vis its friends in school. Its peers may have divorced and blended families, but they have, at least, a father and mother."
He concludes, "Finally, when I look at this proposed law, I conclude that it's a law for gays, but not for homosexuals. I do not want to support it."