Queensland’s Islamic community has vowed to stand “shoulder to shoulder” with “Christian brothers and sisters” to protect asylum seekers from being returned to offshore detention centres, “even if it means our arrest”.
Thanking the Christian community for its leadership on the issue, spokesman for the Islamic Council of Queensland Ali Kadri, said the state’s Islamic community, including the Islamic Shia Council of Queensland, stood behind the offer to offer sanctuary to refugees under threat of being returned to Manus Island and Nauru after last week’s High Court decision.
In response Anglican leaders, including Dean of Brisbane Reverend Dr Peter Catt, invoked the centuries-old concept of sanctuary, offering to throw open church doors to the nearly 270 asylum seekers, including infants, who had come to Australia for medical treatment.
While thousands attended ‘let them stay’ rallies across Australia, Mr Kadri said after meetings with the Muslim community in Brisbane, Slacks Creek and Logan Mosques would also be opened to those seeking refuge.
“This is an issue which transcends race, religion and ethnicity,” he said.
“We commend the leadership shown by the leaders of the Christian community and as people of faith, we stand with them.
“We will offer the same thing in two of mosques and, if asylum seekers enter Dr Catt’s church, I will go and stand in solidarity with our Christian brothers and sisters, I will stand right next to Peter Catt, shoulder to shoulder and if I am arrested, so be it. And I am not the only one.
“It is the right thing to do. As people of faith, we all believe God has created us, and we should live as God intends, showing compassion.
“I think Australians, the majority of Australians are compassionate people, but I can’t say the same of the majority of politicians. It is about time we had politicians reflecting the views of the electorates they represent.
“Having some premiers come out and say they will take refugees is great, but it is a shame that we have a Prime Minister and a Leader of the Opposition who are adamant on this issue.
“We hope they will make a decision which is compassionate and let them stay.”