Archbishop Denis Hart, President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference offered condolences and deep sympathy for the victims of terror attacks in France. He called for unity among cultures and expressed special concern that Australians of Middle Eastern backgrounds should not be vilified as a result of the attacks. He noted that millions of Syrians and Iraqis are fleeing similar atrocities by IS and that Australia should not close its borders to them.
Speaking on behalf of the Australian Bishops, Archbishop Hart said that “acts of terrorism can never be allowed to divide communities through fear and hatred”. He urged Australians to “resist calls to close our borders to refugees from the Middle East.” He joined prayer for Paris with prayer “for the millions of Syrian and Iraqi refugees fleeing similar atrocities by Islamic State against Christian and other minorities.”
Archbishop Hart concluded his message with a call for unity:
“Here in Australia, we pray for a continued national resolve to assist refugees fleeing this violence and oppression. We pray for unity among all cultures of our diverse Australian community, and call for a special concern to ensure that Australians of Middle Eastern background and Muslims are not subject to intimidation or vilification as a result of these tragic world events.”
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