‘Call to open hearts on asylum’

On Easter Sunday I spoke out for Tasmanians to support asylum seekers who are coming to a new detention centre near Hobart.

The Mercury article accurately reported my view, see following, but I was deeply disappointed at the ‘Comments’. Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised at the tone of the comments but how difficult it is to get gracious and reasoned conversation and engagement over issues where differences of opinion are held.

Too readily Good Friday corners our conversation and confronts the hope of Easter Sunday.

The Article in the Mercury is by CRAIG HOGGETT | April 25, 2011 12.01am and it reads:

 ANGLICAN Bishop John Harrower has called on Tasmanians to show compassion for asylum seekers as debate rages over plans for a detention centre near Hobart.

After joining other church leaders for the traditional Easter Sunday parade around Hobart yesterday, Bishop Harrower said he was disappointed to hear about anti-Muslim sentiment at a public meeting at Pontville last week.

Locals at the meeting spoke out against the Federal Government’s move to set up a temporary detention centre at Pontville.

Bishop Harrower said people needed to separate the decision about where to house detainees from the people themselves.

He said he was saddened to hear that Brighton parish minister Kaye Paice was booed for speaking out during the meeting on Thursday night.

“I would like to think Tasmanians would open their hearts, not necessarily to the process, but embrace the asylum seekers,” Bishop Harrower said.

“We can be critical of the decision by the Federal Government, certainly.

“But we need to give the people Tasmanian hospitality and make them feel welcome.”

Bishop Harrower pointed to his friendship with Hobart Muslim leader Imam Sabri Samson as an example of tolerance.

On the eve of Anzac Day, the ecumenical parade combined the religious message of Easter with the selfless story of stretcher bearer John Simpson and his donkey in World War I.

Christians of every denomination celebrated the resurrection of Jesus Christ with a day of family fun at Parliament Lawns.

See the Mercury article plus photo and comments, Call to open hearts on asylum.

Interestingly I reread an article I wrote just 2 years ago around ANZAC Day, When it comes to boat people whatever happened to concern for the underdog? Sadly, it seems that little has changed these past two years. 

An informative response to some popular but incorrect views on asylum seekers, Refugee Mythbusting Animation – GetUp!

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