ACU Interfaith Breakfast highlights

Australian Catholic University had organized an Interfaith Breakfast meeting at the NSW Parliament House on 17th October 2018. The meeting was well attended by over 200 invitees including Premier of NSW, Minister for Multiculturalism, ex-premium Hon John Faye AC (and now a chancellor of ACU) and about 35 other MPs. Almost all religions of Australia including Hindus and Sikhs were represented there.

The Premier of NSW Honourable Gladys Berejiklian addressed the gathering recollecting her Armenian background. She applauded that such a diversity of religions and cultures was present there to have a dialogue among themselves and to have a dialogue with elected representatives. She was proud to see the diversity which is not seen in other places in the world.  Its good for framing public policies that initiative for change is coming from the faith leaders. As Australia is increasingly becoming secular, discussions with faith leaders on important issues will result in better policies.

Hon John Faye AC expressed his happiness at the growing number of religions in Australia. He said that separation of State and Church does not mean that religious persuasions should be ignored and that they have an important role to play in getting better outcomes from their Governments. He noted the success of Australia’s multiculturalism that religious diversity has not lead to fights but has rather enriched the Australian culture.

Mr Luke Foley, Leader of Opposition said that the separation of state and church means that state should not impose “a” religion but it also does not mean that religion should have no say in shaping state policy. He lamented that some core values are under attack due to excessive individualism, self-centredness, capitalism and materialism. Our society and families are changing as more children are being raised without the presence of a father figure in the family and we are getting drenched in excessive celebrity culture.  He said that people often get criticized for bring their faith to the parliament but religion is what gives us our values and it would be naive and irresponsible to drive religion out of the public square.

Ms Janice Petersen an SBS Journalist said that there are sixty eight million refugees in the world and it is the religion that offers that solace, social acceptance and hope. Census shows that people in Australia are drifting away from religion and it is good to see that many religious leaders are becoming pro-active. She advised religious leaders that in order to get coverage on SBS, they should scrutinize current issues (like Gay teachers rights, refugee issues etc), formulate a policy response to them and have a spokesperson ready to speak on them.

The Interfaith meeting received 20 prayers/readings from different religions that include :

  • Ahmadiyya Muslim
  • Anglican
  • Baha’i
  • Buddhism
  • Latter-Day Saints
  • Congregational
  • Druze
  • Engaged Buddhism
  • Hinduism
  • Islam
  • Judaism
  • Lutheran
  • Quakers
  • Roman Catholic
  • Russian Orthodox
  • Seventh-Day Adventist
  • Sikh
  • Sukyo Mahikari
  • Unitarian
  • Uniting Church

Towards the end, five religious prayers were read by their representatives. Hinduism prayer verse 10,191:2,3,4 from Rig Veda were read by Pandit Ramachandra Athreiya Rama.

Hindus were represented by Pandit Ramachandra and Pandit Rami from Australian Hindu Clergy as well as Surinder Jain and Dr Nihal Agar from Hindu Council of Australia.

 

Hindu rituals under attack in Australia

By: Smith Jones.

Australia is a very tolerant society. Hindu practices are not only encouraged but participated by a large number of white Australians and elected Australian representatives from all shades of political spectrum. Hindus feel at ease and encouraged to become Australians.

Surprisingly, attacks on Hindus are not coming from other religions or from fringe political ideologies. Political leadership in Australia makes sure they come to Hindu events and celebrate it with Hindu Australians. All other religions including the main religion Christianity are very supportive of Hindus and their efforts to organize themselves and celebrate their festivities and conduct their rituals. In fact, some of the religious leaders of older religions who have been here for two hundred years, go out of their way to help new comers find their feet and guide them on how to integrate well into Australian society. The departments of multiculturalism and various other government ministries are inclusive, respectful and supportive of Hindus and their efforts to get spiritual guidance from their temples, associations, seers and saints.

The attack to dissuade Hindus from practicing their rituals is coming from other Communist leaning pseudo-secularists masquerading as journalists who have also migrated to Australia more recently. They seem to question the audacity of Hindus in performing their rituals and Hindu worship in their new homeland of Australia. All Hindus and all religious leaders of all religions in Australia as well as Political leadership should condemn such veiled and sometimes open attacks on Hindus by vested interests.

By:Smith Jones.

Farmers helped during Walkathon to Temples

Hindu Council of Australia organized a Walk to Temples event in Sydney on 29th September 2018. Funds were raised for Farmers Drought Relief efforts during the walk. According to Walk organizer Mr Sai Pravastu, $850 were raised on the first day and $540 were raised on second and final day of the walk. More funds are being collected and will be handed over to Hindu Benevolent Fund to help the Australian Farmers.

Hindu peace philosophy explained at Ahamadiya Peace Conference

By:Tara Sharma.

I attended Ahmadiyya Muslim community a Peace Symposium on behalf of Hindu Council of Australia. We were also represented a few weeks back, on their function on Eid festival.

It was a good experience.

There were people from other faiths too like Budhists, Sikhs, Christians from two faiths. There were political leaders too and some social / community leaders.

The topic of Symposium was : Decency, Tolerance and Respect for lasting peace.

There were 13 speakers.
I was one of the speakers and I spoke on Hindu philosophy/ teachings / thinking on Peace. It was well received.

There were around 400-500 attendees.

I was much impressed with the organisation.
The program was well organised, professional, well attended. The venue was well laid out, technologically well done, timing was on spot, guests were well received. Dinner was well serviced.
Plenty of volunteers, well managed volunteer force, clock precision work, no chaos, very humble behaviour.

Hindus join International Day of Peace celebrations in Canberra

Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture held a Multi-faith meeting on the occasion of the International Day of Peace, representing: Hindu, Christian, Islam, Buddhist and Quakers.

Dalai Lama 83rd birthday celebrated

By:Prakash Mehta.

ACT Tibetian community Inc. celebrated 83rd Birthday celebration of His Holy Highness Dalai Lama in Cenberra. Mr Prakash Mehta, President , Hindu Council of Australia represented Hindus in Australia in the celebrations.

 

Can Hindus be accorded minority status in seven states and one Union Territory in India

Report on Hindus in seven states soon: National Commission for Minorities

By Sana Shakil| Express News Service | Published: 26th May 2018 01:55 AM

NEW DELHI: The National Commission for Minorities (NCM), which was assigned the task of examining if Hindus could be accorded minority status in seven states and one Union Territory, is nearly ready with its report on the issue. A subcommittee set up by the NCM, which is examining the issue, has called the petitioner on June 14 to discuss the matter. Sources said that petitioner Ashwini Upadhyay, a politician of the Bharatiya Janata Party, has been called for a “final clarification” on the issue, following which the NCM will soon submit its report to the government. 

The three-member subcommittee was formed in January, based on a plea by Upadhyay in the Supreme Court for granting minority status to Hindus. The court rejected his petition in November and asked him to approach the minorities commission. Headed by NCM Vice Chairman George Kurian, the subcommittee includes NCM members Sulekha Kumbhare and S Manjit Singh Rai.

NCM Chairperson Syed Ghayorul Hasan Rizvi confirmed the development and said Upadhyay had been invited to take part in the subcommittee’s meeting on June 14 so that the “points made by the petitioner can be heard in detail”. Rizvi, however, refused to comment on possible recommendations of NCM in the matter. “The matter is being examined by the subcommittee. We cannot say what will be our final recommendations until the report is absolutely ready,” Rizvi said.

[Click here to read more ….]

Source includes wikipedia and wikicommons also.

Ray Williams MP wants to stamp out racism in Australia

Some leaders have recently made racist and divisive statements affecting residents of NSW and Australia.

Upset by these developments, Hon. Ray Williams MP will host a round table with Community Leaders to explore ways to stamp out racism in Australian community.

He is holding a forum on the same 2:15pm, Saturday 26 May 2018

 

Tiny Australian towns are inclusive but lack diversity

While large Australian cities have seen a large influx of different ethnic and religious groups, tiny Australian towns although considered inclusive by some authors, lack diversity of ethnicity and religions. They seem to live in a time warp that existed in Australia before 1970’s. Most new immigrants avoid country towns for their lack of employment opportunities. Most Hindus who came to Australia after abolition of whites only policy, settled in cities though a handful of Hindu doctors  did settle in small towns. These doctors were respected and seen as as an important asset to medical services starved communities.

However most Hindus who came to Australia later, started settling in large cities as a rush of IT and then technicians came in. Later, students immigrating started drifting to medium towns for jobs and small businesses. It seems that tiny towns of Australia are still living in their old familiar ways. It is a matter of time, perhaps one full generation before these new migrants start affecting the way of life of tiny towns as they have done to large cities.

[Click here to read more …]

A Hindu Textbook Controversy in USA

The basic complaint by Hindus, including the American Hindu Education Foundation (HEF) is that previous textbooks have given an inaccurate and disparaging portrayal of their religion. While there are many individual complaints the big three are: the emphasis on the caste system, making the Indo-Aryan Migration Theory seem undisputed, and changing ancient India to Southwest Asia.

[Click here to read more ….]