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

Christians, Muslims, Sisters, Brothers!
A good time had by all at the ‘Save the Sheikh’ BBQ

God blessed us with clear skies for the inaugural ‘Save-the-Sheikh Friendship BBQ’, held at Hurlstone Park, in Sydney’s inner-west on Sunday, December 9th.

Between five and six hundred supporters of Earlwood’s Sheikh Mansour Leghaei came together and enjoyed a warm atmosphere and a good Aussie grill, provided by members of the Sheikh’s Imam Hussein Islamic Centre.These supporters included local Christians, peace activists, and persons from across the community who wanted to show their support for the Sheikh, in addition to the many members of the Sheikh’s own congregation.

Well-known super-middleweight boxer, Nader Hamdan, was there, showing his support for the Sheikh. Indigenous Christian pastor, Rev. Ray Minniecon, was also there, and he took the opportunity to formally welcome the Sheikh and his congregation on behalf of the traditional owners of the land, and to acknowledge the contribution they had made to the larger community.

Father Dave, coordinator of the ‘Christian Save the Sheikh Coalition’ said, “If I remember, this BBQ started out as a spontaneous idea for some of us to get together and enjoy each other’s company. It wasn’t initially designed to make a political statement. But I guess whenever we cross these divides between races and religions we are making a statement, and our statement is this: ‘Christians, Muslims, Sisters, Brothers!’”

Supporters of the Sheikh reminded the gathering of the crazy situation Sheikh Mansour now finds himself in, where he has been asked to ‘deport himself’, having apparently been labelled a ‘national security risk’!

The tragic irony of the situation of course is that neither the Sheikh nor any of his supporters have any idea what risk it is that he is supposed to be posing to the country? Indeed, as a man with a long record of faithful community service, and as a renowned bridge-builder between races and religions, those who know the Sheikh are at a loss to try to understand why he has been targeted. And yet it seems that ASIO, who are responsible for the label, do not have to justify their reasoning either to the accused nor to his supporters, nor even to the courts!

When the Sheikh addressed the gathering he said, “I only ask for the opportunity to show that Sheikh Mansour is not a threat to national security, to show that Sheikh Mansour is here to serve the Australian community”.

The Sheikh’s supporters are appealing to the new Rudd government to give the Sheikh this opportunity, for the sake of the community and for all Australians.