06 January 2016

This is how religious freedom works

From The Australian, January 2, 2016, by Mark Durie*:

It is entirely appropriate for Australians to hold Muslims accountable for the statements and actions of their religious leaders.

...it is up to the Muslims of Australia who they choose to listen to and appoint as their religious leaders.

If ...most Australian Muslims want a moderate form of Islam preached in their mosques, then let them take steps to ensure this happens.

If they are unhappy with their imams, let them replace them, or else vacate those mosques to frequent other mosques they like better, with imams whose teachings they find more congenial.

This is how religious freedom works. It is precisely because Australian Muslims do have religious freedom that it is reasonable for Australians to hold the Muslim community to account for the utterances of their leaders.

*Mark Durie is a theologian, a Shillman-Ginsburg writing fellow at the Middle East Forum and founder of the Institute for Spiritual Awareness. This piece was originally published in Quadrant, www.quadrant.org.au.

Malaysia's Vindictive Visa Policy Towards Israeli Athletes

6 January 2016

The Zionist Federation of Australia Calls For International Pressure on Malaysia To Reverse Its Vindictive Visa Policy Towards Israeli Athletes

ZFA President Danny Lamm has called upon the Malaysian Government to reverse its vindictive denial of entry visas to Israeli athletes seeking to compete in next month’s World Team Table Tennis Championships in Kuala Lumpur. As of today, Malaysia has not issued visas to members of the Israeli national team, placing Israel’s participation in the Championships in doubt. This incident has taken
place just one month after the Israeli Sailing Association was forced to withdraw its athletes from the Youth World Sailing Championships in Langkwai after they were similarly denied Malaysian entry visas.

While a single such incident of this type could be ascribed to bureaucratic oversight, two such occurrences taking place in rapid succession would indicate that more insidious factors might be at play.

"Through what appears to be deliberate policy, Malaysia has betrayed the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) definition of sport as: ‘a recognised instrument for promoting peace’" said Dr Lamm. "The Malaysian Government’s actions arguably have anti-Semitic undertones as well....
The values espoused by International Olympic Committee include: “sport practiced without discrimination of any kind. The ZFA urges the international sporting community to pressure the Government of Malaysia to live up to Olympic ideals by granting entry visas to Israeli athletes".