Author: Philip Feinstein

Changing the conversation on refugees

The plight of refugees and asylum-seekers was the focus of a forum organised by the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies. The event was attended by around 100 members of the Jewish community. It was highlighted with speeches by two former refugees, Dor from South Sudan and Najib from Afghanistan (surnames withheld).  Dor came to Australia in 2003 via Ethiopia after suffering persecution in his home country. While fleeing ongoing torment he even had to face wild animals and illness including malaria and other fevers. The last leg of his journey was by plane. “I am now safe and happy...

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Palm Sunday Rally turns a bit sour

 The 2017 Palm Sunday Rally on 9 April commenced at Hyde Park in Sydney with a mostly positive crowd of about 4,000 supporters of refugees incarcerated in Australian detention centres, and gained momentum with some fabulous speakers.  Xuyen Pho, Salvation Army National Secretary and a Vietnam refugee from the late 1970’s, reminisced from his time coming to Australia. “No one seeking asylum gets on a leaky boat without desperation  –  ask yourself what drives someone to travel to an unknown destination without a compass in an open sea and without reliable navigation?” he asked rhetorically. “Banning people seeking refuge and...

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Refugee Alternatives Conference at UNSW

The University of New South Wales hosted the inaugural Refugee Alternatives Conference on 22 – 23 February 2017. The Refugee Council of NSW presented this 2-day event that focussed on improving policy, practice and support for refugees and asylum seeker issues. Attended by over 800 people from all points of Australia, the event featured a variety of expert speakers covering topics such as advocacy, resilience, unity, protection, displacement and general wellbeing. Following the Welcome to Country and Opening Session, Paul Power, CEO of the Refugee Council of Australia, officially opened the proceedings. “Today is very special as we welcome...

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Sydney Hyde Park rally for refugees

With Trump’s new ban on Muslims, the rally in support of refugees on Sunday 5 February in Sydney had extra significance. Hyde Park became the focal point where even the weather stayed dry and inviting.  There were many speakers who got the crowd chanting appropriately: Rita Mallia, State President CFMEU NSW voiced her feelings of where society was going and where they should be headed. Dulce Munoz, a Mexican migrant representing Mums for Refugees, made clear points about the Trump situation and how we as a nation need to voice our disapproval. Then it was Ian Rintoul’s turn. Being...

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Will you marry me? Interfaith marriage Part 2

Click here to read part 1 Last month in Part 1 of this intriguing topic, I had the pleasure of interviewing three very distinguished and respected leaders of their own faiths: Imam Farhan Khalil from Mount Druitt; Reverend Bill Crews from Ashfield; and Rabbi Zalman Kastel from St Ives. We now continue with their important views… Given that we put pressure on marriage to be fabulously great and at an all-time high, parents want the most for their children and would be appreciative of being asked for advice. Reverend Crews said that they found that most marriages between Christian...

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