Father Dave
Holy Trinity Church, Dulwich Hill
Tel: 02-9569-1255
Fax: 02-9569-1220
Email: dave@fatherdave.org
11 Herbert Street, Dulwich Hill, NSW 2203

Aussie Christians say, ‘Give the Sheikh a Fair Go’

A coalition of Christian clerics in Sydney’s inner-west has expressed outrage at seeing their local Islamic Sheikh threatened with deportation.

Father Dave, coordinator of the ‘Save the Sheikh’ Christian coalition, said, “Sheikh Mansour is a great guy. He’s a personal friend of mine and someone I deeply respect and admire. Moreover, he’s a pacifist and a man committed to building bridges between our faith communities and ethnic communities. The idea that this man could somehow be a threat to national security is simply outrageous”.

Last week Sheikh Mansour Leghaei lost his High Court appeal that might have allowed the Iranian-born Sheikh to stay in the country. The appeal was not over whether he was a risk to national security risk, but simply over whether he had the right to have the matter heard in court. Mansour’s request was denied. He was told that because he is not an Australian citizen, he does not have the right to a fair trial!

“Denying Mansour the right to defend himself is nothing short of outrageous”, said Father Dave. “If I was picked up in Iran on suspicion of some crime, but told that because I was an Australian, I had no right to a fair trial, the community here would be understandably incensed, and we’d see it as an act of a totalitarian regime. Why is it any different when the boot is on the other foot?”

Sheikh Mansour has no idea why ASIO has assessed him as a security risk and threatened to deport him. Indeed, given the sheikh’s immaculate record as a bridge-builder and man of peace, his supporters wonder if it isn’t the result of some clerical error. But there is no way of knowing! No one will tell the Sheikh what he has been accused of, and now the High Court has denied him the right to have any independent assessment made of the government’s supposed concerns!

Father Dave said, “Our government has been talking about how immigrants to this country should be accepting Australian values and the Australian way of life. What could be more Australian than giving someone a fair go? My mate Mansour has been denied the right to a fair go!”

Local Christian leaders met with the Sheikh at the Islamic centre in Earlwood  on Friday, November 23rd, to show their support and to discuss ways forward. This will be the first of a number of meetings, providing that the Sheikh isn’t forcibly deported before further actions can be organised. Updates will be posted to www.savethesheikh.com and to Father Dave’s website: www.fatherdave.org