This project, researched in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in the USA and on Bali aimed to examine the place and function of faith traditions and religious groups in an increasingly multicultural Australia operating in a world that is also increasingly globalised. It aimed to identify current and emerging issues as a basis for policy recommendations to government, and provide a basis for informed debate and concrete action in different sectors of the Australian community. It also indicated areas for further research and exploration.
The aims of the project were:
- to profile the current religious diversity context in Australia within a brief historical framework, and map the extent of inter-faith dialogue and co-operation;
- to examine the current contribution that religious frameworks and religious groups are currently making and can make to the development of the four civic values of civic duty, cultural respect, social equity and productive diversity;
- to identify current and emerging issues, challenges and possibilities regarding the interface of religious groups with Australian society and each other, including areas for further research and exploration;
- to document and analyse recent occurrences of racist and bigoted attacks, both verbal and physical, on faith communities and their members, including post-September 11th ., and to develop educational material about Islam, the Islamic diaspora and the history, role and contribution of Muslim Australians;
- to suggest policy and program initiatives that foster a healthy, interactive religious diversity and that utilizes religion as an asset and resource for Australia’s social, political and economic well-being in a globalising world;
- to develop material for an information kit to facilitate and encourage dialogue, interaction and co-operation between Australia ‘s faith communities at local, state and national level;
- to investigate the feasibility of Australian inter-faith bodies and structures to advise the Council for Multicultural Australia and other government and non-government bodies;
- to investigate data sources for the construction of an electronic network for the transmission of information to religious groups at local, regional and national levels.
The Report and research outcomes were launched at 11:00am on Tuesday 21st December 2004 and are available here for downloading.