Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Support for Muslim leaders

UCA President Stuart McMillan with the Grand Mufti of Australia Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohamed UCA President Stuart McMillan with the Grand Mufti of Australia Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohamed

The Uniting Church in Australia affirms its friendship and ongoing collaboration with the Muslim community after three Australian Islamic leaders were targeted in an ISIS propaganda video.

In the video the terrorist group condemns Islamic scholars from around the world for discouraging violence in the name of Islam, including the Grand Mufti of Australia, Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohamed, NSW Police Force chaplain Sheikh Ahmed Abdo and youth leader Sheikh Shady Alsuleiman, Fairfax Media reported.

President Stuart McMillan said the Uniting Church was deeply committed to working with Muslim leaders to build a more peaceful nation where differences of faith were respected and embraced. 

“These threats against faith leaders show yet again ISIS is not about faith but hate and violence, and I condemn them,” said Mr McMillan. “As a Church we value greatly our friendship with the Muslim community and its leaders.”

“As brothers and sisters of faith, we share many things in common, but the one thing that connects us above all is our desire for a more peaceful and just world.”

The Uniting Church has a strong working relationship with members of the Muslim community in Australia having worked collaboratively to build interfaith understanding.

“The Grand Mufti and Sheikh Abdo in particular have been great friends of the Uniting Church and have supported us to help break down some of the misconceptions that exist in our community and in our Churches around Muslim faith and practice,” said Mr McMillan.

The President and the Grand Mufti met in October to discuss how the two faiths might work better together.

Uniting Church Relations with Other Faiths Convenor Rev. Michael Barnes, a friend of the Grand Mufti, said the propaganda of ISIS undermined the core values of Islam as a religion of peace.

“While the intention of this video from Islamic State was to divide, the video actually highlights the important work being done by our Muslim leaders to be peacemakers in our community.”  

“Whenever I meet with our Muslim brothers and sisters I find such warm hospitality and welcome. I am reminded that by coming together with an open mind and an open heart, we ourselves are enriched by the experience.”

“We look forward to continuing to work with our Muslim friends to make Australia a place that embraces all faiths, where people feel safe, valued and welcome.”

Watch a video of Rev. Michael Barnes and the Grand Mufti Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohamed speaking about their friendship.