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'Save-the-Sheikh Friendship BBQ' held in Sydney

12 December 2007

On Sunday 9th December in Hurlstone Park, in Sydney’s inner-west, 500 supporters of Earlwood’s Sheikh Mansour Leghaei came together and enjoyed a warm atmosphere and sunny barbeque. 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.

Supporters of the Sheikh reminded the gathering of the crazy situation Sheikh Mansour now finds himself in, where he has been asked by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) 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. Instead ASIO have hidden behind “national security” to hide their case from full court inspection. The best ASIO can deliver is a incorrect translation of the Sheik’s writings on jihad, taken at airport customs and misleading the concept of personal struggle for international violence.

Indigenous Christian pastor, Rev. Ray Minniecon, 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!’”

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”.

It is time for a new Labor government to throw out the vicious racist scapegoating of the Howard past and tell ASIO to drop all intimidation towards Sheikh Mansour.

Send your message of support to new Attorney General Bob McClelland [email protected]

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