A diverse range of faith and community  leaders led by the Sydney Alliance held a public  session at Cumberland Council Chambers on Wednesday night 3 March in support of Muslim councillors to take a short prayer-break at sundown.

The Sydney Alliance and its partners strongly support the right of local government staff and councillors of diverse faiths, including Muslim councillors, to take a short prayer-break if necessary.

The group is advocating against a rescission (amendment) which would prevent Muslim councillors from the free expression of their faith in the offices of Cumberland City Council.

The amendment opposes a motion, recently brought by Mayor Lisa Lake, to grant the request for a short prayer-break.

According to census data, over 200,000 residents of Western Sydney have a Muslim faith. The rescission motion does not represent the best interests or the religious diversity of the Cumberland area.

Shalika Bandara, a Buddhist, representing young people across the Cumberland LGA and the broader Sydney Alliance, described the significance of inclusion and religious tolerance to the wider community.

“As Buddhists, we believe in the plurality of religious expression and the opportunity for all of us to practice our faith in peace and harmony,” Shalika said.

“We stand in solidarity with the Muslim community who have been specifically targeted with this motion. Every religious community have a right to be represented on the local council. Prayer time is not a favour, it’s not a privilege, it’s a birthright. We are emphatically against this recission motion and implore you to dismiss it.”

The Sydney Alliance and its partners value the diverse faiths of Sydney and support the Muslim community’s fair and reasonable requests to observe their religious tradition of prayer.

About the Sydney Alliance

The Sydney Alliance is a diverse coalition of community organisations, religious organisations, unions, and schools that uses the tools of community organising for the common good – to make Sydney a more just, fair, and sustainable city. The Alliance is the largest and most diverse network of communities in Sydney with over 40 civic organisations and over 20 in the Cumberland LGA. We believe that a strong and connected community enables Sydneysiders to shape their own future, to grow and develop as leaders, to be full democratic actors and to speak and act with others on their own behalf. We build grassroots power that respects the contributions and dignity of all people. Head here for more information about how your organisation can become a partner of Sydney Alliance.

Contact Daniel Nour, Sydney Alliance Communications Coordinator, [email protected], 0410 106 913.