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Ismaع - Listen: Strategies Document

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Strategies Document

Table of Strategies

As part of the Ismaع
project, the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (the Commission)
investigated existing initiatives that address anti-Arab or anti-Muslim
prejudice at a local, state and federal level across Australia. We conducted
research and requested information about current initiatives from seven
federal government agencies, 37 state and territory government agencies
(including education and police authorities), 83 local governments (mostly
in areas with substantial Arab or Muslim populations) and 14 non-government
and community organisations. Additional information about current strategies
was also obtained via the consultation process and from over 50 separate
meetings with government agencies, community organisations and select

The Commission found a wide range of existing
initiatives aimed at dispelling anti-Arab and anti-Muslim prejudice and
discrimination. The following table provides brief descriptions of select
projects and initiatives which have specifically sought to address anti-Arab
or anti-Muslim prejudice, discrimination or vilification in Australia
since 11 September 2001. While the following list is by no means exhaustive,
it provides a useful overview of these projects and initiatives as described
to the Commission. Website addresses have been provided where possible.

Agency Project Description Duration
1. Australian Federal Police (AFP) Islamic awareness workshops The AFP has held Islamic Awareness Workshops
attended by AFP members nationally and is currently developing a
workshop encompassing Islamic and Asian cultures. These workshops
have involved various members and leaders of the Muslim and Arab
community speaking to police on topics including racial discrimination
and Islam and its beliefs and customs.
2. AFP Liaison with Muslim community leaders

After September 11, each of the AFP Executive Teams
in respective regions sought to develop strong relationships with
Muslim and Arab communities. Specifically:

  • General Managers within Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth
    offices initiated and developed strong relationships with leaders
    of Islamic Councils in respective states. Formal and informal
    lines of communication continue with Islamic Councils as part
    of this outreach program
  • Representatives of the Islamic community have presented to
    AFP members on Islamic issues
  • AFP has addressed Muslim students in relation to discrimination
    and fears held by the community
  • Female AFP members have attended meetings with female members
    of the Islamic community in Brisbane to discuss issues and concerns
    they may have in dealing with the AFP.
3 Australian Multicultural Foundation (AMF) funded
by Department of Immigration, Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs
(DIMIA) Living in Harmony (LIH) community grant
Believing in Harmony project

The project allowed students to hear first hand
from other Australians whose religious views may be different from
their own. It offered them the opportunity to understand the meaning
behind different views and encouraged them to keep an open mind
when listening to others. The project produced a resource kit 'Achieving
Harmony through Religious Understanding: A Resource Manual for Teachers'
which was designed to guide teachers through a four week activity
program. At the end of the program, teachers were encouraged to
plan their own religious forum so students can hear first hand from
their own local religious clergy. 3000 kits were produced and distributed
to education departments and schools around Australia. An online
version of the kit was also available for downloading on the AMF's
website. Users of the kit were asked to evaluate its effectiveness.
Feedback indicates it was well received by teachers and students
who used the resource in general English classes, studies of religion
classes and in special theme subjects.

For more information see:

4 AMF in association with World Conference on
Religion and Peace, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT)
and Monash Universities. Funded by DIMIA under the LIH Partnership
Religion, Cultural Diversity and Social Cohesion
in Contemporary Australia

The aim of the project was to hold a series
of consultations with religious, government and community organisations
as part of a broader study of religion, cultural diversity and social
cohesion in contemporary Australia. A series of fourteen inter-faith
focus groups (including Muslims) were held in states and territories
across Australia. The purpose of these focus groups was to gather
information about the feasibility of an Inter-Faith Council to act
as an advisory body for government and non-government agencies,
gain a better understanding of activities of the various community
interfaith groups and identify emerging issues and trends. The project
research team included Professor Des Cahill (RMIT), Gary Bouma (Monash
University), Michael Leahy (Deakin University), and Mr Hass Dellal
(AMF). The report of the project will be released mid-2004 and will
be used as the basis for informed debate and outline the actions
needed by various community sectors to achieve social cohesion in
the area of religious and cultural diversity. Other outcomes include
a booklet on Muslim Australians by academic Abdallah Saeed and a
resource kit to provide community groups, education institutions
and government and non-government service providers with a better
understanding of Islam and Muslims in Australia.

For more information see:

5 Australasian Police Multicultural Advisory
Bureau (APMAB)
National forum on safety issues affecting Muslim
communities in Australia
APMAB brought together representatives from
the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils (AFIC), the Islamic
Council of Victoria (ICV), the Victorian Board of Imams, Victoria
Police and other multicultural leaders for a meeting under the theme
'Developing Partnerships and Working Together'. The meeting included
discussions of key issues facing members of the Muslim community
including how to work more closely with police to ensure safety
and how to improve recognition of Muslims as members of Australian
society. The aim of the meeting was to open new communication channels
between Australian Muslim communities and police and reassure community
members that incidents of racial vilification would not be tolerated
and that perpetrators would be dealt with to the full extent of
the law.
15 December 2002
6 APMAB with funding assistance from the AMF Practical Reference to Religious Diversity
for Operational Police
(2nd edition)

The reference book seeks to help police deliver
culturally appropriate services includes information about Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) spirituality, Baha'i, Buddhist,
Christian, Hindu, Islamic, Jewish, and Sikh Faiths. General background
information about each religion is provided together with information
about key religious festivals, sects, and worship practices. Also
highlighted are issues relating to death, gender and family roles,
physical contact, religious practices and policing (including examples
of how religious teachings may impact on the delivery of police
and emergency services).

For more information see:

2nd edition printed 2002
7 Centrelink Community profile featuring Muslims A community profile featuring Muslims was distributed
nationally to Centrelink staff in response to popular demand from
staff and managers throughout the organisation who were actively
involved in encouraging greater awareness and understanding of Islam
as a counter to uninformed and inflammatory reporting in some sections
of the media.
Distributed 3 October 2001
and annually before Ramadan.
8 DIMIA Living in Harmony

DIMIA has administered the LIH initiative since
August 1998. The initiative comprises of three linked elements -
a community grants program, a partnership program, and a public
information strategy incorporating Harmony Day held on March 21
each year. The initiative aims to promote community harmony and
address issues of racism in Australia. DIMIA has supported numerous
projects which counter anti-Arab and anti-Muslim prejudice through
its LIH community grants and partnership programs. For example,
in 2002, 42 LIH community grants were awarded. Of those grants,
two had an inter-faith focus including the Islamic community, five
projects worked with Arabic groups to promote community harmony
including one grant which provided mentoring for young Arabic boys.
In 2003, 44 LIH community grants were awarded. Of these grants,
10 projects focussed specifically on addressing anti-Muslim prejudice
or had an inter-faith focus which included the Islamic community.
Of the remaining grants, ten projects addressed anti-Muslim or anti-Arab
prejudice more generally.

For more information see:

1998 - ongoing
9 DIMIA LIH partnership project with AFIC Towards a Better Understanding of Islam and
the Muslim Community in Australia

The partnership focused on developing a better
understanding of Islam and Muslims in Australia, through facilitating
informed and accurate reporting in the media and producing information,
articles and media releases on Islam/Muslims. Activities have included
media training for Islamic community leaders, development of a national
media policy for AFIC and the establishment of a network of state
and territory based media officers. The booklet 'Appreciating
' which provides accessible information about Islam was
also produced and distributed. 60,000 copies of the booklet have
been printed and distributed widely.

For more information see:

Jan 2002-March 2003
10 Australian Federation of Islamic Councils (AFIC),
National Council of Churches in Australia and the Executive Council
of Australian Jewry
Australian National Dialogue of Christians,
Muslims and Jews (ANDCMJ)

ANDCMJ formed to provide leadership in a time
of increasing international tensions and conflicts, to support and
encourage Australians to respect the rights of religious communities
and their places of worship and ensure that issues overseas do not
intrude on the stability and tolerance of Australian society.

For more information see:

Launched 21 March 2003.
11 DIMIA in partnership with Federation of Ethnic
Communities Councils of Australia (FECCA), National Council of Churches,
Executive Council of Australian Jewry, AMF, Council for a Multicultural
Australia, National Council of Migrant Resource Centres and Migrant
Services Agencies
Australian Partnership of Ethnic and Religious
Organisations (APERO)

APERO was established in response to the climate
of conflict caused by recent terrorist attacks and Australia's military
commitments in the Middle East. APERO members include representatives
of Christian, Islamic, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindi, Baha'i and Sikh
faiths as well as the World Conference for Religion and Peace, AMF,
Adult Multicultural Education Service, Council for a Multicultural
Australia and the National Council of Migrant Resource Centres and
Service Agencies. The partnership works closely with government
to ensure that community harmony is promoted and government policies
and programs do not discriminate against or disadvantage any particular
faith or ethnic community.

For more information see:

Launched February 2003
  New South Wales (NSW)      
12 Affinity Intercultural Foundation (AIF) funded
by DIMIA LIH Community Grant
Building an inter-faith community project

This project seeks to address fundamental misunderstandings
around issues of different faiths by bringing groups from both Christian
and Islamic faiths (especially Turkish) together in the Ryde and
Auburn areas of Sydney. The project aims to develop a self guided
program for use by other faith groups and will provide training
to all participants on dialogue and listening skills.

For more information see:

13 AIF Various

AIF was founded in 2001 to create and sustain
enduring affinity and relationships with people through inter-cultural
and inter-faith dialogue and understanding. AIF runs a variety of
activities designed to promote broader understanding and awareness
of Islam and foster dialogue between Muslims and various religious
groups. Activities have included:

  • Auburn Gallipoli Mosque Open Day (held 1 September
  • Private tours of the Auburn Gallipoli Mosque
    (offered as an on-going service to school groups and any other
    interested organisations or individuals).
  • 10 week education seminars (offered free)
    on Islam
  • Muslim Visit to Our Lady Queen of Peace Church
    on 22 March 2002. The visit coincided with the Muslim celebrations
    of Eid-ul Adha featuring the time of pilgrimage to Mecca and
    the remembrance of Prophet Abraham as the common point in
    religious history where Judaism, Christianity and Islam meet.
    The visit was filmed by ABC TV and featured in the Compass
    'Encounters with Islam' program. The visit was also in response
    to an earlier visit by the church to Auburn Gallipoli Mosque
    expressing its solidarity with the local Muslim community
    in the aftermath of September 11.
  • Annual 'Friendship and Dialogue Dinners' -
    members of the Muslim community share dinner during Ramadan
    with teachers, principals, academics, Church leaders from
    a number of Parishes of diverse Christian denominations, Jewish
  • 'Travelling Together' Muslim-Christian Dialogue
    Conference. The conference was held April 27 2002 in Sydney,
    attended by 500 Muslims and Christians. The theme of the conference
    was, 'Travelling together' and the main topic was 'Peace &
    Dialogue in a Plural Society; common values & responsibilities.'
  • Culture, Multi-culture and Universalism Conference
    - 3-5 October 2003. Organised with the University of Sydney,
    the conference investigates the historical, sociological,
    cultural, musical, artistic and literary interface between
    cultures and what this can mean for Australia.
  • Public Forum entitled 'Christians & Muslims
    growing Peace in Baulkham Hills Shire'. This was initiated
    in partnership with the Columban Mission Institute Centres
    for Christian - Muslim Relations and the Hills Multicultural
    Network - 17 May 2004.
  • 3rd International Interfaith Conference. Held
    on 26 and 30 May 2004 with the theme 'What is our Future Together:
    Muslims, Christians and Jews', organised jointly by the AIF,
    Community Relations Commission for a Multicultural NSW (CRC),
    NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, United Muslim Women's Association,
    Muslim Women's National Network of Australia, Auburn Gallipoli
    Mosque, Al-Ghazali Centre for Islamic Sciences and Human Development,
    Columban Centre for Christian - Muslim Relations, Parramatta
    Catholic Diocese, Feza Foundation and Uniting Church NSW Synod.
  • 'Fear and Fascination: The Other in Religion'
    Conference organised by AIF in partnership with the Australian
    association for the Study of Religions to be held in mid July

For more information see:

2001 - ongoing
14 Australian Arabic Communities Council (AACC) Racism Register

The AACC responded to September 11 by setting
up the Racism Register to document individual complaints of racist
incidents in the community as well as negative media coverage that
people found offensive. In its first week the Racism Register logged
over 50 complaints.

For more information see:

15 AACC Cross-cultural workshops and seminars

Since 2001, the AACC has delivered cross-cultural
awareness seminars to government and non-government service providers
with Arabic-speaking clientele. Interest in these seminars has risen
significantly over the last two years. Demand for more specifically
tailored cross-cultural awareness seminars from government service
providers such as Centrelink, TAFE and some local area police commands,
has also risen significantly since 2001. On request from specific
agencies, the AACC staff has conducted numerous seminars and talks
on a range of agency specific issues relating to Arabic-speaking

For more information see:

2001- ongoing
16 AACC Media Strategies for Arabic Community Workers

This was a half day seminar which included information
on mass communications and media, textual analysis, language and
representation, orientalism and race and representation in Australia,
news organisation, news values and news production, analysing news
output: content analysis and transitivity and an overview of the
legal framework governing media operations in NSW.

For more information see:

April 2004
17 Baha'i Community of Australia Culture of Peace Seminar 'Elimination of Religious
This is part of an annual series of seminars
organised by the Baha'i Community of Australia and includes speakers
from the Buddhist Council of NSW, Islamic Friendship Association
of Australia, Uniting Church of Australia and the Baha'i Community
of Australia.
8 May 2003
18 Canterbury City Council Canterbury Inter-Faith Harmony Project

This project aims to create a network of religious
leaders who will meet regularly to promote inter-faith understanding
at a local level and enhance the skills of religious leaders to
address issues of racism, and to respond collectively in times of
crisis. Activities will include Open Days at places of worship,
specific tours for local schools in May 2004, community harmony
workshops at schools and working with the media.

For more information see:

Nov 2003-October 2004
19 Chabad House of the North Shore in cooperation
with the Forum on Australia's Islamic Relations (FAIR)
Goodness and Kindness Campaign

The campaign was launched in the wake of September
11 to foster the compassion within school communities, and by extension
in the broader community. The first program was conducted in a state
primary school in June 2002. Since then over 1,000 children have
participated in the project. The project involves joint visits to
schools by representatives from Islamic, Jewish and Christian faiths
who encourage children (primary school Years 3-6) to discuss how
they will make a difference to their school community through an
act of kindness. In 2003, the program received a DIMIA LIH Community
Grant to enable facilitators to visit more schools together in Sydney,
the Central Coast and Armidale. 80-100 schools will be visited.
This activity will be supplemented by the production of a cooperative
craft project.

For more information see:

20 Community Relations Commission for a Multicultural

A telephone hotline was established on 13 September
2001 to assist community members experiencing problems resulting
from the attacks on September 11. Initially, a 24 hour Arabic hotline
was set up and from 14 November 2001 a Punjabi language line was
open from 5pm- 9pm. In the first 5 weeks following September 11,
Arabic and Punjabi hotlines received 400 calls. Around 13% of callers
had contacted police by the time they contacted the hotline. There
were some complaints about police responses. Evidence collected
through the hotline suggested that the events of September 11 impacted
heavily on community relations in NSW. Calls to the hotline tapered
off significantly after 5 weeks. In October 2002 in response to
the Bali bombings and throughout the lead up to and outbreak of
hostilities in Iraq, community members had the capacity to report
incidents of abuse, insult or discrimination to the Commission via
the following mechanisms:

  • Hotline (1800 80 41 41) - this was monitored by Commission
    staff during business hours, and by bilingual (English/Arabic)
    counsellors between 5.00 pm and 9.00pm, Monday to Friday. All
    calls not answered within 15 seconds were diverted to a message
  • Language specific message bank - following the escalation
    of hostilities in Iraq, the Commission established three additional
    hotlines (Arabic, Turkish and Indonesian) to facilitate individual
    reporting incidents of abuse, insult or discrimination.
  • Email - an email address ( was also established
    to enable the recording of complaints.

There was a marked decrease in calls once hostilities
in Iraq abated. This lead to the decommissioning of the language
specific hotlines on 19 May 2003. The telephone and email hotlines
are both monitored by Commission staff on a daily basis and remain
as permanent features at the Commission.

Researchers from the University of Technology (Sydney)
(UTS) are currently conducting analysis of data from the hotline.
The project will evaluate the impacts of the events of September
11 2001 on community relations in New South Wales. The research
will focus on the impacts on community harmony for members of diverse
ethnic, religious and language groups. The research will produce
recommendations for both policy and projects that aim to minimise
future negative impacts of such events. The research will build
on the body of research on both media representation and occurrences
of racist violence to focus on identifying best practice and developing
constructive suggestions for improvement in media practice and in
policies and projects in community relations.

For more information see:

13/9/01 - 5/10/01 18/10/02-
21 CRC Community Harmony Reference Group

In mid-October 2002, the NSW Premier directed
the CRC to establish and convene the Community Harmony Reference
Group to deal with community unease following the attacks in Bali
and to ensure a coordinated rapid response to any local community
relations issues which may arise in the wake of international events.
The group consisted of 45 leaders from Islamic, Jewish, Arabic,
Iraqi, Turkish Indonesian and Sikh communities along with representatives
from government agencies including the NSW Police Force, the New
South Wales Anti-Discrimination Board (NSW ADB), Department of Education
and Training (DET) and the Department of Community Services. After
the project's establishment, three working groups were formed to
address issues of community concern and to implement projects that
assisted communities during times of community relations crises.
The working groups focused on issues such as those pertaining to
the Arabic and Islamic communities, education and public discourse.
A Steering Committee was initially formed to establish the working
groups. Once the Working Groups had established their own identity
and there was no longer an identified need for the Steering Committee
and thus was subsequently abolished.

For more information see:

October 2002 - August 2003
22 Coolaburoo Neighbourhood Centre funded by DIMIA
LIH Community Grant
My First Community The project seeks to address prejudices formed
by children (6 - 12 yrs) towards non-Anglo cultures and non Christian
religions in the Canterbury and Bankstown areas. It seeks to do
this by producing quality resources which will be developed through
workshops held at primary schools. These resources will then be
distributed to other primary schools, community and government organisations.
23 Dr. Helen McCue (Mara Consultancy) funded by
the Myer Foundation with representatives from the Muslim Women's
Association and the Muslim Women's National Network of Australia
Women in Islam: HSC Studies of Religion Teachers'
An education kit designed to improve high school
students' understanding of women in Islam for use by 12,000 students
in the NSW HSC Studies of Religion program. The kit contains an
overview of key issues relating to women in the Islamic faith, specific
details of Muslim women in different historical periods, relevant
excerpts from the Qur'an, student activities and a glossary and
Launched April 2003
24 FAIR Various

FAIR is a public relations group whose aim it
is to promote a positive and harmonious relationship between Muslims
and the wider community in Australia. FAIR's objective is also to
preserve civil liberties for Australian Muslims, protect religious
and social rights and eliminate religious bigotry by tackling ignorance
about Islam. FAIR publishes its own newspaper called Australia
and operates its own media and research centre to carry
out media monitoring, issue press releases and plan media strategies.

For more information see:

Founded 2003
25 Granville Public School and Parent and Community Arabic Mentoring Program The project linked young Arab boys with successful
older male Arab teenagers who work and live in the local area as
a path to defusing local community tensions. The teenagers worked
as mentors in school with the target group, whilst mothers of the
mentorees were linked to other Arab mothers who will in turn, help
them with parenting issues.
26 Melkite Catholic Eparchy of Australia funded
by DIMIA LIH Community Grant
Sharing the Spirit of Harmony

The project aimed to promote racial and religious
unity amongst young people (aged 15-25 years) of different ethnic
backgrounds (including Lebanese, Sudanese and Egyptian) from the
Melkite Catholic Eparchy of Australia together with broader youth
communities in the Bankstown and Canterbury Local Government Areas.

For more information see:

27 Muslim Women's National Network of Australia
funded by DIMIA LIH Community Grant
Building Networks and Understanding Between
Journalism Students and Muslims

This project seeks to increase knowledge about
Islam amongst mainstream media by running seminars for journalism
students at several NSW Universities. Other activities will aid
in the development of professional networks between these students
and the broader Muslim community. As part of this project a 'Harmony
Day Event' was also organised on 16 April 2004 in partnership with
the Daily Telegraph to give the community and people interested
in journalism the opportunity to meet journalists from the Daily
Telegraph and share information and thoughts on the impacts of reporting
on the community as well as to gain insight into how the media works.

For more information see:

28 National Council of Churches In Australia funded
by DIMIA LIH Community Grant
Journey of Promise

The project brings together young people in
Sydney (Jews/Muslims/Christians) to explore issues and to experience
each others faiths and cultures (including Indigenous). Experiences
will be filmed for broadcasting and use in the community. Activities
include a week long residential, inter-faith visits, participation
in diverse religious festivals and a day of reflection.

For more information see:

29 NSW Anti-Discrimination Board (NSW ADB) Arabic and Islamic Community Education Initiative

Two Arabic speaking education officers were
appointed to the NSWADB for a six month term to work with Arabic
and Islamic communities on a range of projects aimed at combating
anti-Arabic and anti-Islamic sentiment. Projects included developing
an education kit, providing education sessions in communities and
preparing informative material in Arabic to assist Arabic speakers
deal with harassment and discrimination. The team conducted 26 community
training sessions addressing 1 672 individuals, mostly in Arabic.
There were 6 training sessions for community workers and service
providers with 173 participants, as well as attendance at information
days at Migrant Resource Centres and informal networking. The team
also produced a referral poster to assist community workers to refer
clients appropriately when they are dealing with discrimination

For more information see:

February - July 2003
30 NSW ADB Advance Australia Fairly Project

The project's objective was to, 'offer various
perspectives, as well as encourage discussion, about migration,
racism and community identity in New South Wales.' The project tackled
the issues of anti-Arab and anti-Muslim prejudice and discrimination
in Australia within a broader anti-racism framework. The project
was made up of several components:

  • Release of a series of postcards (October-December 2002) profiling
    diverse NSW citizens, including a post-card of diverse religious
    leaders (including a photograph of an Imam). Avant Cards reported
    that one of the most popular cards was the card featuring religious
    leaders 'highlighting the need for this type of message and its
    broad appeal in all venue types'
  • Establishment of a website with 'online profiles' of culturally
    diverse Australians
  • A seminar series: Beyond these Walls held 18 October 2002 which
    included the session 'Arab and Muslim Australians: under siege?'
    and 'We Interrupt this Program' held on 29 November 2002 which
    included workshops for community groups on countering negative
    media portrayals.
  • 'Race for the Headlines' released 13 March 2003. The report
    examined the way media in NSW have reported race issues, specifically
    to media representations of Muslim and Middle-Eastern Australians
    in the local and national press.

For more information see:

October 2002-March 2003
31 NSW Department of Education
and Training (DET)
Youth Partnerships with Arabic
Speaking Communities - Education Initiatives

As part of the NSW Premier's
Department's Youth Partnerships program, the NSW DET are involved
in implementing education initiatives that support youth of Arabic
speaking background in schools in Bankstown, Granville, Liverpool
and St George districts. These include:

  • Gateways: aims to increase the retention, participation and
    completion of schooling to Year 12 of 200 students at risk
  • Homework Plus: establishes four Homework Plus centres to provide
    after hours literacy and numeracy support to identified students
  • School to Work: develops stronger links between schools and
    local Arabic speaking employers
  • Machismo: designed to improve communication skills and build
    self-esteem among boys

For more information see:

32 NSW Premier's Department with
involvement from CRC for a Multicultural NSW, NSW DET, NSW Department
of Community Services, NSW Police, Bankstown Health and the University
of Western Sydney
Youth Partnership with Arabic
Speaking Communities

Youth Partnership with Arabic
Speaking Communities project is a joint initiative between community
representatives from Arabic speaking communities, business leaders
and the State Government. The Partnership has three objectives:

  • promote the well being of young people from Arabic speaking
  • increase parent support and education to help prevent risk taking
  • provide children and young people with better learning opportunities
    and recreational activities for long term personal development

The project focuses primarily on a population of
110,000 people of Arabic speaking background living in 10 Local
Government Areas in Sydney's West and South-West. 17 projects, programs
and initiatives have been funded under the auspices of the Youth
Partnership with Arabic Speaking Communities project. A broad range
of specific programs are managed by six NSW government agencies
and cover five key areas:

1. Youth Liaison Teams who interact with young
people in places where they gather and try to make positive connections
with young people or situations where young people may take part
in anti-social or risk-taking behaviour

2. Education initiatives to strengthen school
and community relations, reduce truancy and behavioural problems
and assist young people with learning.

3. Parent support to ensure they are appropriate
and accessible to the needs of Arabic speaking families and facilitate
specific initiatives to raise awareness and improve services to
parents and families to help them parent

4. Sport and recreation and cultural initiatives
which aim to engage young people in sport, recreation and cultural
activities to reduce boredom and develop confidence and self-esteem

5. Establishment of a 'Community Trust' where
community and corporate sponsorships can be obtained for specific
projects (in addition to the funds allocated by the NSW Government
for the initiative)

For more information see:

33 NSW Premier's Department Canterbury-Bankstown Place

This is one of a series of
'Place Projects' which aim to build and maintain community harmony
in specific areas by bringing together community leaders, state
and local government agencies to make commitments and decisions
about future directions of their local community. The project arose
from concerns about crime prevention and fear of crime stemming
from the 1998 attacks on the Lakemba police station and compounded
by a series of gang rapes in 2000. 'Leading the Way' Canterbury-Bankstown
Youth Leadership Forum was one of the initiatives held to encourage
an active role for young people as community builders, giving them
a voice on issues in Canterbury-Bankstown and providing them with
positive leadership training. The main features of the forum consisted
of a series of practical workshops that helped develop and encourage
positive leadership skills of young people which included using
the media to promote positive images of young people and building
community harmony. Another major initiative of this project will
be the creation of a community harmony round table that will bring
together representatives of the significant communities of different
ages and cultures in the area.

For more information see:

2004 - ongoing
34 NSW Premier's Department with
CRC for a Multicultural NSW
Forum 'Islam in a Multi-faith

NSW Premier's Department initiative
to inform the wider community about Islam, the Muslim experience
in Australia and how communities, particularly our religious communities,
interact with each other. Speakers included Premier Carr, representatives
from Anglican, Catholic, Buddhist, Muslim and Jewish faiths, select
academics and members of the media. A brochure entitled 'Islam in
a multi-faith Australia' was distributed at the forum.

For more information see:

27 November 2001
35 NSW Premier's Department with
CRC for a Multicultural NSW
Unity in Adversity Assembly Assembly of leaders convened
by NSW Premier to send a message of compassion in the wake of September
11 and the ensuing war against terrorism. Participants included
major NSW political parties including all NSW Ministers and Shadow
Cabinet, representatives from the Consular Corps in NSW and major
religious leaders. The representatives signed an affirmation condemning
all acts of terrorism encouraging people to 'act generously, humanely
and with compassion in fulfilling our proud citizenship of Australia'.
15 November 2001
36 NSW Premier's Department,
Community Solutions and Crime Prevention Strategy (Special Projects
Muslim Women's Safety Project The project aims to improve
community safety and access to services for Muslim women and young
people who face negative community stereotypes and social isolation
in the Warrawong/Berkeley local government areas. The project has
employed a full time worker, supported by a part-time youth worker,
to enable women and youth to negotiate culturally appropriate services
to improve their safety and wellbeing and improve community harmony.
37 North Shore Peace and Democracy Open Minds, Open Doors - 'Muslims
and Christians sharing common values and living together in friendship'
This is a Muslim-Christian
Interfaith community dialogue organised by a group called North
Shore Peace and Democracy and convened by Manly Catholic Social
Justice Group, Islamic Society of Manly Warringah and Australia/Pacific
Centre for Moral Re-Armament (MRA) - Initiatives of Change. The
dialogue addressed the question of the ability of people from different
religious communities to live side by side. Specific questions addressed
at the gathering included whether there are important values we
share in common which transcend differences and by which the community
can benefit, and what are the values that are important for Muslims
and Christians?
May 2004
38 Rockdale City Council Various initiatives

A number of initiatives have
been undertaken by the Rockdale City Council including:

  • Racism and discrimination are identified in the Draft Social
    Plan for Rockdale - Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Residents
    particularly addressing the effect of September 11 and Post Bali
    bombing on Rockdale's Arab and Muslim communities. Consultations
    were conducted with the Arab and Muslim communities living in
    the area. To counter the effects of these events, the Council
    is working with the Regional Violence Prevention Worker and local
    Islamic women's groups, including Al Zahra Islamic Council and
    Al Zahra Muslim Women's Association to address the issue of discrimination
    and harassment of Muslim women.
  • 'Growing Peace in Rockdale' public forum held in October 2003.
    An initiative of the Columban Mission Institute Centres for Christian-Muslim
    Relations, and Peace, Ecology and Justice. The forum was organised
    by the Council in partnership with Al Zahra Muslim Women's Association,
    St. George Area Local Command, and AIF. The aim of the forum was
    to promote peace and mutual understanding among people at a local

For more information see February 2004 community newsletter at:

39 St Joseph's College (Hunters
Hill) funded by DIMIA LIH Community Grant
Muslim - Christian Young People's

Project to expand links between
St Joseph's Catholic School and a local high school (Wiley Park
Girls' High) (with a 97% Muslim population) to address interfaith
understanding. Activities will include seminars, school visits,
with reports back to whole of school communities.

For more information see April 2003 newsletter at:

40 St. George Migrant Resource
Centre, in partnership with Rockdale City Council and St. George
'Understanding Arabic Speaking
and Muslim Communities in the St. George Area' seminar
This seminar was conducted
for all service providers working with Arabs and Muslims living
in the St George area.
September 2003
41 St. George Migrant Resource
Centre, funded by DIMIA LIH Community Grant
St. George LIH Project - 'Combating

The project included a number of initiatives
and phases:

  • A series of workshops with young people from the St. George
    area on issues of racism and harmony and the creation of a short
    play that carried an anti-racism message analysed how racism operates
    within Australian society and the impacts this may have on young
    people. Participants were from Chinese, South Pacific/Maori and
    Arabic speaking backgrounds. Almost half of the participants were
    from an Arabic speaking background, many of whom were Muslim.
  • An extended anti-racism forum which was attended by over 100
    young people from 11 local high schools was held over two days
    and provided an opportunity for participants, some of whom ran
    the workshops, to debate racism and discuss strategies to combat
  • A play called 'SNIPE' was created and performed at five different

A package has been developed for distribution upon
request and includes a video and reports documenting all phases
of the project as well as the script of the play.

42 United Muslim Women's Association
Inc. (MWA)
Cross-cultural/ Religious
awareness seminars

The MWA delivered cross-cultural
awareness training session for service providers from local, state
and federal agencies whose clients include Muslim women. In 2002,
the MWA, with support from Bankstown City Council (Community Grants
Program) delivered several sessions to local service providers.
In 2003, MWA conducted over 100 cross cultural/religious training
sessions/ information sessions to schools, community and women's
health centres, sexual assault services, Centrelink offices, Legal
Aid offices, Councils, TAFEs and universities and police services.

For more information see:

43 MWA with University of Technology
Sydney (UTS) Shopfront
Muslim Women and Employment
in NSW Study

Students from the University
of Technology, Sydney's Faculty of Business, together with the MWA
conducted a research project into the employment experiences of
Muslim women in NSW. The report aimed to: establish the main type
of workplaces in which Muslim women worked; determine whether the
qualifications of Muslim women reflect their current positions of
employment and determine the employment satisfaction and possible
barriers to employment of women currently in paid employment and
unemployed women currently seeking paid employment. The report found
that Muslim women who are currently employed are experiencing few
barriers and are generally satisfied in their current position of
employment. However, for those seeking employment, a majority of
respondents reported difficulties in finding employed and perceived
significant barriers in gaining employment due to their status as
Muslim women.

For more information see:

44 Wollongong City Council Different Faiths, One Vision:
This project aims to provide
inter-faith forums where local community relations issues can be
discussed and strategies devised to maintain and promote Wollongong
as a vibrant and harmonious city. The inter-faith forums will: identify
the extent of local community religious intolerance, racial vilification
and general disharmony, draw upon local cultural and religious expression
as positive images and facilitate a community-owned and driven process
to promote community harmony, civic participation and pride. The
major outcome of this inter-faith project will be an 'Inter-Faith
Community Harmony Kit' for use by whole of community as a means
of reducing religious intolerance.


45 Australian Arabic Council (AAC) Racism Register The AAC operates a 'Racism Register' to monitor
and document all incidents of anti-Arab racism including hate crimes,
discrimination, vilification, threats, violence, vandalism and propaganda
against Arabic Australians, or Arabic culture generally. The AAC
was the only community organisation to have been collecting data
on incidents of racism and vilification prior to September 11 providing
a useful comparator for the level of pre and post-September 11 discrimination
and vilification against Arab-Australians. The AAC recorded a 20-fold
increase in reports of vilification to the national racism register,
with the majority of people affected being women and children.
46 AAC funded by the AMF, Victorian Multicultural
Commission (VMC), Healthy Communities and Victoria Premier's Drug
and Prevention Council
'The Arabs in World History' Booklet

This booklet is one of many ongoing publications
and projects that aim to combat ignorance regarding the Arabic language,
culture, and highlight the rich history and positive contributions
of Australians of Arabic background today. It accompanies other
teaching resources on Arab history and the experiences of Arab and
Indigenous youth in Australia. This booklet includes information
about the contributions that Arabs have made in the golden age,
medicine, mathematics, astronomy, architecture, art and music and
philosophy. This is a free booklet and has been distributed widely
throughout Australia. A copy can be obtained from the AAC.

For more information see:

September 2003
47 Australian Lebanese Welfare Incorporated 'Passage to Safety' Book In the wake of September 11 and after the 'Tampa
Crisis', in an effort to increase an understanding of what an asylum
seeker is and break down misconceptions about refugees and to help
empower the existing Iraqi women's support group, funding was obtained
from the Hume City Council's Community Grants for a testimonial
project where members of the group documented their stories about
their lives in Iraq, including their decision to leave Iraq and
their experiences of the journey to Australia as asylum seekers
and in refugee camps, and how they arrived in Australia and their
experiences here. The book was published and distributed widely
to organisations and individual community members.
48 Australian Lebanese Welfare Incorporated Settlement services to newly-arrived Arabic-speaking
refugees and migrants, especially women
Project addressed the settlement needs of newly
arrived Arabic refugees and migrants, especially women in metropolitan
Melbourne. It provided an outreach service in Hume to support isolated
and disadvantaged Arabic newly-arrived refugees and migrants through
provision of direct services such as information and referral, supportive
advice and counselling, and will initiate support groups for women
to access mainstream services in Moreland and Hume. The project
also addressed the settlement needs of Arabic speaking youth in
49 City of Greater Dandenong Interfaith Network of the City of Greater Dandenong

The Network is active in promoting harmony among
different faiths and cultures in Dandenong and conducts tours of
places of worship as well as faith presentations aimed at informing
the public about each faith and removing the fear of 'otherness'.
The Network is also working on production of an education/information
video to be shown in schools, shopping centres and organisations
depicting everyday elements of practicing faiths to help remove
the fear of 'otherness'. The Interfaith Network have published a
document, Many Faiths: One People, which sets out a brief
history and activities of the Network and gives a summary of the
major tenets of major religious faiths including Islam. The Network
also helped establish a multi-denominational 'Sacred Space' in the
Dandenong Hospital where patients and families of all religions
can pray, meditate and grieve in a culturally appropriate space.

For more information see:

1989 - present
50 Darebin City Council Cramer Street Neighbourhood Project: Working,
Living and Caring Together
The project promoted harmony between people
of Muslim and Christian religions and between people from a range
of cultural and racial backgrounds who live in Melbourne's inner
north. It aimed to tackle the underlying racism against Muslim and
Arab people, especially demonstrated since Sept 11. Local neighbourhood
groups worked together to plan and participate in a range of activities
to education about certain religious and cultural events.
51 Darebin Ethnic Communities Council Faith: The Art of Believing Local youth in Preston will create videos exploring
various religions (including Indigenous) and capture diverse expressions
of faith as experienced by young people. The project aims to generate
dialogue, awareness and understanding of contemporary concepts of
faith, address prejudice and dispel myths about certain religious
groups. The videos will become a local resource for schools/libraries
to address the prejudice that surrounds certain religious groups.
52 Ecumenical Migration Centre (EMC), Brotherhood
of St. Laurence
Given the Chance Program

'Given the Chance Program' has some funding
through the Victorian Department of Human Services' Community Strengthening
Unit, the Victorian Women's and the Invergowrie Foundation, a private
trust set up to promote and advance education for women and girls
in Victoria. The program was developed in 2001 and began running
in October to December 2002. It is designed specifically for refugees,
temporary and permanent visa holders, and involves getting mentors
for women on the program through corporate and government organisations.
The mentors, mostly from corporate businesses, and the work experience
supervisors are trained in cultural awareness and about refugees.
As part of the program, EMC was also running a public speaking program
throughout June 2003 where participants are invited to speak to
the ANZ Women's Corporate Unit in July 2003. In addition, along
with the local community legal centre, EMC also held sessions where
women are taught safety procedures and how to keep themselves safe
from any form of harassment.

For more information see:

2001 - ongoing
53 Equal Opportunity Commission of Victoria (EOCV) 'Stand up to Racism'

The EOCV collaborated with Diversity Victoria
and VicHealth to develop and deliver a community education campaign
urging all Victorians to 'stand up to racism'. The campaign was
designed to discourage the rise in racial and religious vilification
and abuse towards Australians from Muslim and Arabic communities
following the attacks in the United States and publicity surrounding
Australia's refugee policy. Over 1000 campaign kits were sent to
businesses, not for profit organisations and individuals urging
them to stand up to racism by holding events, distributing campaign
material (stickers, posters, fridge magnets). Kits contained fact
sheets on cultural diversity and Muslim communities in Australia,
tips on writing media releases and attracting media attention (as
well as media contacts), summaries of key anti-racism messages and
quotes and campaign posters and stickers.

For more information see:

November 2001
54 EOCV Arabic-speaking Communities Education Project

In November 2001, the EOCV appointed an Arabic-speaking
community educator to inform Muslim and Arabic-speaking groups throughout
Victoria of their rights and responsibilities under Victoria's anti-discrimination
laws (including the Racial and Religious Tolerance Act) and of complaint
handling processes. The EOCV took on the project in response to
concerns raised in consultation with Arabic communities about their
experiences of discrimination, harassment and vilification following
Sept 11. The project ran for 10 months.

For more information see:

55 EOCV Introduction of Racial and Religious Tolerance
Act 2001 (Vic)
The EOCV issued a series of information sheets
about the new law and together with the Victorian Office of Multicultural
Affairs (VOMA) and the VMC; it took part in community briefing forums
to explain the law to community groups.
56 Hume City Council Hume City Faith Leaders' Network In 2001, religious leaders in Hume formed a
Hume City Faith Leaders' Network to promote cross-cultural and religious
understanding. The Faith Leaders' Network provided considerably
support and leadership to Council and Hume citizens following September
11. In April 2003, the Council convened a working group of local
community representatives, social support organisations, government
agencies and faith leaders to address the local impact of the war
in Iraq.
2001 - present
57 Islamic Council of Victoria (ICV) Hate Crimes Register

The ICV acted to safeguard the security and
wellbeing of Muslims in Victoria against any backlash attacks by
setting up a 'Helpline' and circulating advice for Islamic organisations
and individuals on security and safety issues. Community members
were encouraged to call the 'Helpline' to report and seek advice
and referrals following incidents that involve threats to safety,
security and discrimination, vilification, intolerance and hostility.

For more information see:

58 Islamic Women's Welfare Council of Victoria
SILC (Self Esteem, Identity, Leadership, Community)

Three-year community education program to develop
the capacity of Muslim women in the parenting, employment, and community
leadership and education arenas. This project takes a rights based
approach to building the capacity of the Muslim communities by first
building the capacity of Muslim women. This program provides intensive
skill development and personal development group work programs for
women from Arabic speaking, Horn of Africa and Turkish communities.
Funded by the Department of Family and Community Services.

For more information see: or

59 IWWCV and Melbourne City Council Muslim Women's Safety Project The City of Melbourne has funded the IWWVC
to conduct research into the safety of Muslim and Arabic women residing
in the City of Melbourne. The research has been commissioned to
assess the nature and extent of attacks against women, to identify
the range of responses undertaken by state and local government,
community organisations and the Muslim community and to identify
ways that the Muslim and Arabic communities can be supported in
relation to racial and religious based crimes and vilification.
60 Migrant Information Centre (Eastern Melbourne) Communities Together Project aims to address and increase inter-faith
understanding of Islam by establishing a link between Muslim and
non-Muslim communities in the region (Mitcham). The strategy aims
to provide educational programs in key secondary and primary schools
in the region, particularly those with a significant number of Muslim
students, hold inter-faith forums and social opportunities for Muslim
and non-Muslim families.
61 Moreland City Council Moreland Interfaith Gathering

The Interfaith Gathering includes representatives
from Moreland's Muslim, Sikh, Buddhist, Catholic, Anglican, Greek
Orthodox, Indian and Eastern Orthodox religions. The group's purpose
is to build trust between leaders of faith communities, work together
towards agreed goals and take part in activities that involve faith
communities providing examples of respect, acceptance and cooperation
to the wider community.

For more information see:

1996 -present
62 Northern Migrant Resource Centre (NMRC) Various initiatives

In response to the 'Tampa Crisis' and the effects
of September 11 and the Bali Bombing, the NMRC undertook a number
of initiatives including:

  • Understanding Islam Profiles. These were workshops on Islam
    delivered by the Arabic Community Settlement Worker. The worker
    and the workshops were both were developed after being accredited
    by the Board of Imams in Victoria.
  • The NMRC has been particularly involved in organising and initiating
    activities and events which demonstrate support to the Muslim
    refugee community, such as commemorative events for the Iraqi
    refugees whose boat capsized off the Australian shores in 2001
  • The NMRC held a self funded Harmony Day Breakfast with the Darebin
    City Council which involved a hypothetical on issues of refugees
    and the journeys of asylum seekers.

For more information see:

2001 - 2003
63 Office of the Premier of Victoria Racial harmony advertisements On December 6, 2001 the Premier announced a
television advertisement campaign promoting racial harmony as part
of the education campaign to introduce the RRTA. The advertisement
featured Victorians from a wide range of cultures, religions and
backgrounds, and was screened for six months free to air as a Community
Service Announcement by all television networks in Melbourne and
regional Victoria, including commercial stations Channel 7 and 9
who agreed to broadcast it more frequently than usual Community
Service Announcements. On 18 March 2003 the Premier re-launched
the advertisements for another six months.
64 Office of the Premier of Victoria Multi-faith Gathering In the immediate aftermath of September 11
2001 the Premier of Victoria met with religious leaders from the
Muslim, Jewish, Anglican, Uniting and Coptic Orthodox faiths and
announced a multi-faith gathering to be held on 20 September 2001
to mourn those killed in the New York and Washington attacks. More
than 15,000 Victorians attended the gathering, including representatives
from Buddhist, Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Baha'i and Christian
20 September 2001
65 RMIT University Holy Sites, Holy Cities The project focused on Melbourne's outer north-western
region and flowed out of September 11. It was aimed at defusing
cultural and religious bigotry and increasing inter-faith understanding
and interaction between religious schools from the Catholic and
other Christian and Islamic traditions and producing protocol for
interaction between religious schools that may be applied across
66 Victoria Police Arabic Language and Culture Course for police

In partnership with Victorian Arabic Social
Services (VASS), Victoria Police ran an Arabic Language and Culture
Course for police officers, based on a similar successful program
in Vietnamese. The course comprised a series of presentations from
community members on important Arabic family, religious and cultural

For more information see:

67 Victoria Police Various

Following commencement of the war on Iraq, Victoria
Police took a number of steps to minimise racially/religious motivated
incidents and more effectively deal with such incidents reported
to police. Steps undertaken included:

  • Formal consultations by all Regional Assistant Commissioners,
    Multicultural Liaison Officer (MLOs) and the Victoria Police Multicultural
    Advisory Unit, with groups and communities likely to be affected
    by the war in Iraq or other related incidents prompted by domestic
    or overseas events
  • Victoria Police issued formal operating instructions to police
    on how to effectively respond to racially/religious motivated
    incidents. This included the development of a poster of a flow
    chart of complaint processes for racial and religious vilification
    placed in all police stations all over Victoria.
  • Victoria Police, in cooperation with multicultural communities,
    initiated an Register that records racially/religious motivated
    incidents. The Register is ongoing and records all such incidents
    reported to Police through internal police data and community
    information. Groups and communities identified as more vulnerable
    to vilification were invited to provide direct input into the
    Register. These included ICV, AAC, the VASS and the Islamic Women's
    Welfare Council of Victoria
  • The Police and Community Multicultural Advisory Committee (PACMAC)
    co-chaired by the Deputy Commissioner Operations and the Victorian
    Multicultural Commission's Chairman, discussed in detail and supported
    all above initiatives, concurrently urging the multicultural communities
    to exercise restraint and cooperate with police by reporting all
    incidents to the authorities
  • Victoria Police have worked to design a hijab as part of police
    uniform for new Muslim women recruits who wear the hijab. They
    have also examined rules, regulations and training programs to
    allow the transition of the first Muslim woman police officer
    in Australia who wears the hijab.

For more information see:

68 Victoria Police - Region 3 Multicultural Liaison Officers (MLO) Port Folio
(P/F) Project
An initiative of the Victoria Police Region
3, District 1, with the aim of strengthening partnerships and working
relationships between the local community organisations, such as
the Migrant Resource Centre (MRC) and the police and building trust
in the community of police. The initiative involves each MLO having
to attend one day a fortnight at the local community agency such
as the MRC, and will do so on a rotational roster system. Although
this project is very new, it is also envisaged that the P/F holder
would be the initial contact member for Culturally and Linguistically
Diverse (CALD) public reporting matters to police, and provide advice
only, and direct community members to the respective police regarding
making a report of a particular matter, informing them also of particular
processes that they may need to take. The P/F people are not to
take on matters reported for investigation unless they wish to do
so and it's in their area. P/F holders would also try to use workers
at the agency to assist in initial interpreting or use telephone
interpreting service. This provides an opportunity for the P/F holder
to engage with the CALD communities and workers and to establish
their own networks. This reporting method at agencies established
will also allow CALD community people to feel more comfortable in
reporting crimes that may otherwise go unreported. All police will
also receive training in the Racial and Religious Tolerance Act.
69 VASS (funded by the Victoria Police Multicultural
Affairs Unit (MAU))
Arabic Culture and Language Course

This is a training course on Arabic Culture
and Language that targets Victoria Police. The first training course
delivered in October 2002 was attended by about 30 police. It has
been developed in partnership with the Victoria Police MAU, and
is delivered by VASS and involves is run over 4 days with a total
of 24 hours. It enables participants to gain better understanding
of the Arab world, history, and geography, Arabic migration to Australia,
Arabic traditions and customs, issues of concern to women, youth,
men and the elderly. Police officers also get to know about the
system of policing in Arabic countries, and to try and devise strategies
for better relations with the Arabic community in Victoria. The
course also includes 4 hours of introduction to the Arabic language
and some basic Arabic words and conversation. The third training
course was recently delivered in early May 2004 to members and police
officers of Cobram Police Station in an attempt to strengthen the
links between police and the region's Iraqi community. This session
was initiated by the Ethnic Communities Council of Shepparton and
the Victorian Police MAU.

For more information see:

2002 - ongoing
70 VASS Anti-Racism Action Band - Youth leadership and
capacity training project

The project involves running workshops with
young people of Arabic speaking backgrounds at a negotiated school
time. Workshops address topics such as rights, obligations, citizenship,
identity, self esteem, knowledge as power, anti-racism, public performance
and speaking, and leadership.

For more information see:

October 2003 -October 2004
71 VASS Various initiatives on working with schools

Through its Settlement Facilitation Program,
which is funded by DIMIA, VASS assisted the set up of an Arabic
Parents Association (APA) at Brunswick Secondary College. Members
of the APA meet with the Vice Principal once a month to openly discuss
concerns and issues such as racism which parents and students feel
affect their children. The settlement program aims at assisting
the school's newly-arrived students and parents in their settlement
process through a social-connectedness approach, peer support and
educational and recreational sessions and activities. VASS is currently
in the process of developing a resources kit for schools which includes
various educational resources and support material for the teaching
of the Arabic language, culture, history, contributions to society,

For more information see:

2002 - ongoing
72 VASS 'Arab Australians: Taking a Stand' Conference

Funded by DIMIA under the LIH grants, this national
conference discussed ways to improve the welfare of Arab communities
in Australia through raising awareness of issues which are affecting
Australians of Arabic descent, such as unemployment, bullying and
dangerous youth behaviour, raising children in the Australian environment,
the changing role of men, and women achieving their full potential,
and citizenship, identity and belonging.

For more information see:

31 October 2002
73 Victorian Multicultural Commission (VMC) Monitoring group and hotline

Following September 11, the VMC coordinated
a working group of representatives from Arabic and Islamic communities,
the DET, DIMIA, Victoria Police, the EOCV and the Victorian Office
of Multicultural Affairs to monitor ongoing developments and improve
responses. The working group developed a range of recommendations

  • The establishment of an Arabic community helpline;
  • Special consideration be given to students of Islamic faith
    or Arabic-speaking backgrounds for exams/assessment; and
  • The distribution of multicultural education information in schools.

In October 2001, an Arabic community helpline was
established, staffed by bilingual counsellors. The helpline ran
for three months, enabling people to report incidents, seek support
and receive referrals to appropriate agencies. Approximately 30
calls were received, most relating to disputes between neighbours
and random abuse.

74 VMC Community grants

VMC provided financial support to Arabic and
Islamic community organisations to enable them to better assist
their members during crises and also in the longer term. Grants
awarded through the VMC's Community Grants Program to Islamic and
Arabic communities in 2002 included:

  • ICV: Carrying out of a services and needs audit of the Victorian
    Muslim community based in West Melbourne;
  • Craig Family Centre and Parkhill Primary School: Engagement
    of a support worker to work with the South Sudanese and Afghan
  • Afghan-Australian Public Servants Association Inc.: Provision
    of language and advice services for new arrivals;
  • Horn of Africa Women's Group: Support for migrant parents adapting
    to a new environment;
  • Islamic Society of Victoria: Bringing women's groups together
    irrespective of culture and religion;
  • Moreland Turkish Educational and Social Affairs Centre Inc.
    in partnership with Australian Denizli Association.
  • VASS Community capacity building purposes.

For more information see:

75 VMC Public forum to discuss 'The role of faith in
building a harmonious multicultural society'.

To commemorate the first anniversary of the
September 11 attacks, the VMC, together with SBS Radio, the AMF,
the World Conference on Religions for Peace and the City of Melbourne
hosted a public forum to discuss 'The role of faith in building
a harmonious multicultural society.' Panellists included representatives
of six faiths (Judaism, Aboriginal Spirituality, Hinduism, Christianity,
Islam and Buddhism), the Chief Commissioner of Police, Christine
Nixon and Professor Gary Bouma.

For more information see:

11 September 2002
76 VMC Community grants Immediately following the commencement of war
in Iraq, the government provided funding to the Iraqi, Assyrian,
Chaldean and Kurdish community groups to help them develop support
services. The funding was used for a range of projects such as training
and briefing sessions for schools across selected regions, grief
counselling and the establishment of a telephone helpline for people
affected by the war in Iraq.
77 VMC Community leaders summit and accord

On 26 June 2002 community leaders participated
in a Community Roundtable and, as a symbolic gesture, signed a Community
Accord declaring their commitment to the promotion of racial and
religious equality. The document was tabled in Parliament. Following
the Community Roundtable, a Community Leaders Summit was held in
September 2002 to progress, in a practical way, the intentions detailed
in the Community Accord. The Summit attracted more than 50 participants
representing over 40 different cultural and religious groups. Sessions
and workshops included:

  • Race Vilification and Inter-cultural Communal Leadership
  • Religion, Cultural Diversity and Social Cohesion
  • Promoting and Demonstrating Tolerance and Respect for other
  • Inter-faith and Inter-racial Cooperation
  • Future Directions
78 Victorian Office of Multicultural Affairs (VOMA) Campaign to launch Victorian Racial and Religious
Tolerance Act

The RRTA was enacted on 1 January 2002 to protect
Victorians from vilification on the basis of their race or religion,
and provide means of redress. The introduction of the RRTA was accompanied
by a comprehensive community information and education campaign
(Many Backgrounds, All Victorians) to raise awareness and
understanding of the RRTA and Victorians' rights and responsibilities
under the Act. The campaign included:

  • Press and radio advertising in community languages;
  • Racial and religious tolerance information kits with a range
    of information material and a 'what you need to know' fact sheet
    translated into 23 community languages;
  • Specific interest group briefings; and
  • A series of community briefing forums

For more information see:

  Queensland (QLD)      
79 Anti-Discrimination Commission Queensland (ADCQ)
with Brisbane City Council
'Hand in Hand'

ADCQ partnership project with the Brisbane City
Council funding multilingual workers to understand anti-discrimination
laws in five community languages. "Hand in hand' pilot project involved
focus groups structured as information and consultation sessions
to people from Somalia, Vietnam, former Yugoslavia, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Phase 2 involved the employment of bilingual workers across communities
to work with the Commission in presenting half-day information sessions
on the Act, with a focus on race issues and complaint processes.

For more information see:

80 Queensland Police Service (QPS) (with funding
from Department of Housing , Community Renewal Program)
'Opening Door' project

Project consisted of 33 information and follow
up workshops between police and community groups in the Logan District
south of Brisbane. At these workshops, community members described
their experiences with police in their country of origin, were informed
of the role, function and operation of the QPS and identified issues
of concern. Workshops have included Muslim groups, Ahmadiyya Muslims,
Sudanese, Romanian, young migrants and refugees and people from
the former Yugoslavia. The Opening Doors project sought to reduce
mistrust and perceived fear of police as well as raising police
awareness of the experiences values and beliefs of Logan City Residents
- 22% of whom were born overseas, 12% from non-English speaking

For more information see:

81 ADCQ with Brisbane City Council 'Racial and Religious Hatred - Know your Rights'

Following the Bali bombing in October 2002,
Multicultural Affairs Queensland (MAQ) funded the ADCQ to jointly
undertake a project to disseminate anti-vilification information
to ethnic communities in Queensland. A series of rights cards in
community languages and a leaflet in English were produced. The
rights cards were printed in Arabic, Farsi, Bosnian, and Indonesian
and have been directly distributed to community organisations.

For more information see:

2002-ongoing Developed by ADCQ and MAQ in late
2002 and distributed March 2003.
82 MAQ Anti-Racism Community Reference Group

Provides a mechanism for monitoring the community
relations environment and developing strategies to respond to racial
and religious vilification. A key initiative of the Anti-Racism
Community Reference Group has been the development of the Community
Relations Response Protocol. The Protocol sets out procedures to
ensure that information about racist incidents is reported and communicated
to the appropriate agencies. The Reference Group includes key government
agencies, peak ethnic community organisations and representatives
of the Islamic and Indonesian communities.

For more information see:

October 2002 -ongoing
83 Islamic Women's Welfare Association of Queensland
'Celebrating Muslim Women' Day One week after September 11, IWAQ organised
'Celebrating Muslim Women' Day, where people from mainstream and
community organisations across Queensland were invited. The event
was held at the Brisbane Showground and was entirely self-funded.
500 people from across Queensland attended.
September 2001
84 MAQ Community Hotline The Hotline provided two key services. Firstly,
it was a formal mechanism for members of the public to lodge complaints
in relation to incidents of racism. Secondly, it provided a referral
service, where appropriate, to the Islamic Women's Association,
the Multicultural Development Association, Legal Aid, the ADCQ and
Queensland Police Services. The Hotline was widely advertised in
the metropolitan, regional and ethnic media as well as the MAQ magazine,
Diversity Matters. However, it only received 16 calls, none from
the Muslim community nor were any related to the events of September
11. The Hotline was discontinued in January 2002.
October 2001 - January 2002
85 IWAQ Dahwah Training Course on Islam This is a train-the-trainer course where members
of IWAQ undertook two five day courses designed to enhance Muslims'
knowledge on Islam in order be able to train others and educate
the community about Islam but also to empower women to answer questions
that they may face about Islam such as 'why do you wear the hijab?'
Topics also include 'Misconceptions on Islam'.
86 MAQ Islamic community grant

Grant to the Islamic Women's Association of
Queensland for a project to enhance the community capacity of isolated
Muslim women.

For more information see:

87 Premier of Queensland Various

Following the events of September 11 the Queensland
Government responded promptly to minimise the backlash against the
Muslim communities in Queensland. Key initiatives undertaken were:

  • The Premier spoke publicly in support of the Muslim community
    in Queensland and the need for understanding and acceptance of
    cultural and religious diversity
  • The Premier also met with the leaders of the Queensland Muslim
    community to reassure them that the majority of Queenslanders
    believe in religious freedom and that every step would be taken
    to ensure their safety and their right to practice their religion
    and manifest their beliefs without fear of reprisal
  • The Premier wrote to all Ministers and the Director-General
    of the Department of Premier and Cabinet wrote to all Queensland
    Government Directors-General to urge them to promote positive
    community relations at every opportunity
  • Promotion of the Anti-Vilification Amendment Act 2001
  • A gift of $5,000 was made to the Kuraby Mosque which was burnt
    down on 22 September to replace children's school books and desks
    which were destroyed
  • A multi-faith gathering was held on 20 Sept 2001 at the Roma
    Street Parklands bringing together people from all religious denominations

For more information see:

  South Australia (SA)      
88 Jewish Community Council of South Australia,
funded by DIMIA LIH Community Grants Program
Project Abraham

Venture between the Jewish and Muslim communities
of South Australia, the project involves a number of seminars to
be held monthly on Sunday afternoons at the Adelaide Secondary School
of English. Both local and interstate speakers from both religions
will take part in the seminars. The series of educational seminars
will explore the cultural and religious commonalities that Muslims
and Jews share, and the last seminar has been scheduled for July

For more information see:

February - July 2004
89 Muslim Women's Association of South Australia
(MWA of SA)

MWA of SA has implemented the following strategies
to counteract existing stereotypes and misconceptions about Muslims.

1. The provision of a cross-cultural training
service available for service providers and schools. 66 sessions
have been conducted from 2002-mid-2003

2. Responding to media, in particular talk back
radio along with writing letters to the editors of Adelaide's
newspapers. A general information session on Islam and the nature
of the SA Muslim community is scheduled early next year for all
sectors of the media

3. Encouraging SA schools to include the study
of Muslims and Islam under the Society and the Environment curriculum.
A resource package has been produced by the MWA to assist teachers
(Women in Islam)

4. Established a buddy program where students
from grade 1, 2 and 3 at the local Islamic College write letters
to students from other schools and students meet at the end of
each term. Emmanuel College, a local Catholic College, is also
starting a program where two of their students will do community
work experience at the Islamic College.

5. The staging of 4 Christian-Muslim dialogues
open to the general public, in conjunction with the South Australian
Council of Churches, Dialogues have attracted around 100 participants.
More are scheduled.

MWA of SA have also published a Guide to the
Needs of Muslims in the Community
which covers basic principles
of Islam, history of Muslims in SA then addresses the specific needs
of Muslim students, the aged, the Muslim patient, death dying and
bereavement and mental health needs.

2001 - ongoing
90 SA Attorney General/Minister for Multicultural
Affairs and Multicultural SA
Discussion paper on amending Equal Opportunity
Act 1984
(SA) to include religious discrimination and vilification

The SA Attorney-General published a detailed
discussion paper outlining proposals for amendment of the Equal
Opportunity Act 1984
(SA) to cover discrimination and vilification
on the grounds of religion. The paper acknowledged the sensitivity
of this area and advised that only if there was consensus would
the new law proceed. The discussion paper was sent to representatives
of all faiths, religious schools, universities, peak bodies in multicultural
and ethnic affairs, church affiliated organisations, businesses
and workplace organisations, the courts and Govt officials such
as the Public Advocate, Employees Ombudsman and the Commissioner
for Equal Opportunity. The paper attracted submissions from the
representative bodies of most of the religions practiced in SA.
Some of them supported the proposal or supported it with qualification.
Others, including all the main Western Christian denominations such
as the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese and the Greek Evangelical Church
opposed it as did many Christian schools. Secular commentators such
as the Commissioner for Equal Opportunity, the Aboriginal Legal
Rights Movement, the Bar Association and the then SA Multicultural
and Ethnic Affairs Commission (now Multicultural SA) supported the

Although dialogue is continuing, the government
has decided that because there is no consensus, it is not appropriate
to proceed with the legislation.

For more information see:

11 June 2002
91 SA Equal Opportunity Commission Media meeting

The SA Equal Opportunity Commissioner arranged
a meeting with local representatives from the Muslim Women's Association
(MWA) and the Editor and senior journalists from the Advertiser.
The Commissioner acted as a conduit between the city's only daily
newspaper and members of the MWA and introduced the issues to the
Advertiser staff. The meeting provided an opportunity for the MWA
to highlight their concerns at the way some of the stories were
being reported about Arab and Muslim people in SA. One of the outcomes
of the meeting was a commitment from the Advertiser to contact the
MWA for their perspective on appropriate occasions.

  Western Australia (WA)      
92 Dar Al Shifah (Islamic) Inc. The conference
was sponsored by Dar Al Shifah House of Healing, Office of Multicultural
Interests (OMI), City of Bayswater, Perth Mosque Inc and Ismail
Ahmad Family
Forum Forum at Perth Mosque for West Australian Muslims
to identify and define their community, develop practical strategies
and address the issues facing them, encourage active citizenship,
raise awareness of resources available to them within Muslim and
broader communities. The aim of the conference was to raise awareness
of the contribution of Muslims in WA, identify and define issues
and needs of the Muslim community and develop strategies to address
these needs and issues. The conference included presentations from
representatives of a number of government departments including
OMI, Department of Community Development, Department of Justice,
Department of Education, Department of Health and WA Police. Representatives
gave presentations on their structure and functions to give the
Muslim community insight into their operational processes with the
hope that the community would access resources and networks helping
to empower the community. The conference also included workshops
in which Muslim community members had opportunities to discuss issues
and find solutions.
22-23 February 2003
93 OMI Workshops

As part of WA's broader Anti-Racism Strategy,
OMI delivered a series of workshops to help organisations in the
public and private sector to understand religious and cultural sensitivities
of their clients and employees. Five sessions covered Islamic, Sikh,
Jewish, Hindu and Buddhist religions. The sessions were in high
demand and provided practical information on cultural practices,
central principles of religious observance, events of significance
and appropriate social behaviour for service delivery. The sessions
also advanced intercultural and interfaith understanding.

For more information see:

94 Premier of WA Meeting with local television news editors and
Muslim community leaders
In the aftermath of 11 Sept 2001, the Premier
of WA initiated a meeting between representatives from OMI, local
television news editors and Muslim community leaders in order to
dispel myths about Islam. At the meeting, there was a positive dialogue
between parties focussed on bridging gaps in information and communication.
News directors present were receptive to developing direct relationships
with community leaders in an effort to present the news in an un-biased
95 Western Australian Islamic Network Open day Western Australian Islamic Network held an
'open day' for people interested to know more about Islam, in which
they will visit the DAWA centre (Daawah Association of Western Australia)
and one of the central mosques in Perth.)
12 January 2003
  Australian Capital Territory
96 Australian Federal Police (ACT Policing) Liaison with Muslim community Following September 11, ACT policing met on
several occasions with members of the ACT Muslim community: The
aim of these meetings was to assure the community that ACT Policing
would continue to respond to its needs. In addition, senior offices
participated in a community meeting held at a local Mosque to field
questions from the community about policing in the ACT.
97 Canberra Islamic Centre (CIC) Various

The CIC has initiated and taken part in a range of different
projects including the following:

  • An annual inter-faith dialogue conference with Muslim, Christian
    and Jewish community representatives
  • Seminars on Islam that disseminate information about Islamic
    law and culture
  • Commemoration Ceremonies - following September 11, the CIC invited
    the American Ambassador to the centre and invited people to express
    their condolences for the people killed in the September 11 attacks.
    The event received media coverage in the Canberra Times. The Centre
    planned a similar event after the Bali bombing
  • Radio Ramadan - an Islamic radio program coordinated and run
    by women with plans to train more women from the CIC to contribute
    on air

For more information see:

98 Chief Minister's Office Telephone Hotline Hotline established for people to confidentially
report any incidents of vilification. To date, 24 calls received.
Common themes have been concern over incidents during Ramadan, concern
about possible war, incidents of women in hijab being targeted at
shopping centres, car parks etc. with comments such as 'go back
to your own country' or the use of 'Arab' as a swear word or put
down by school and college students.
November 2002
  Northern Territory (NT)      
99 Alice Springs Interfaith Network Various

The Interfaith Network was formed after September
11 to address possible issues of concern in the community. It meets
monthly and works closely with Alice Springs Town Council. In May
2003, the Imam of the Alice Springs Islamic Centre was invited to
open the town council meeting with a prayer recital from the Qur'an.
This is part of an initiative of the Interfaith Network and the
Town Council whereby each monthly meeting is opened with a prayer
recital from different faith leaders. With cooperation from the
Multicultural Community services of Central Australia, each network
member signed a statement about livening in harmony and peace together
in Alice Springs. This statement was signed, framed and presented
to the Mayor and Town Council as a gift.

For more information see:

2001 - ongoing
100 Alice Springs Islamic Society Inc. Open day Post September 11, an open day was held at
the Islamic Centre in Alice Springs to provide information on Islam
and build trust with the broader community. The Islamic Centre also
conducts tours of the mosque to school students.
101 Islamic Society of the NT Inc. Interfaith Gathering Post September 11, an a cross-denominational
gathering hosted by the Darwin Islamic Centre was attended by approximately
600 persons including police in a public display of community abhorrence
at the attacks in the USA.


List of Acronyms and Abbreviations

AAC: Australian Arabic Council

AACC: Australian Arabic Communities Council

ACT Policing: Australian Federal Police

ADCQ: Anti-Discrimination Commission Queensland

AFIC: Australian Federation of Islamic Councils

AFP: Australian Federal Police

AIF: Affinity Intercultural Foundation

AMF: Australian Multicultural Foundation

ANDCMJ: Australian National Dialogue of
Christians, Muslims and Jews

APA: Arabic Parents Association

APERO: Australian Partnership of Ethnic
and Religious Organisations

APMAB: Australasian Police Multicultural
Advisory Bureau

ATSI: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

CALD: Culturally and Linguistically Diverse

CIC: Canberra Islamic Centre

CRC: Community Relations Commission for
a Multicultural NSW

DAWA: Daawah Association of Western Australia

DET: Department of Education and Training

DIMIA: Department of Immigration, Multicultural
and Indigenous Affairs

EMC: Ecumenical Migration Centre

EOCV: Equal Opportunity Commission of Victoria

FAIR: Forum on Australia's Islamic Relations

FECCA: Federation of Ethnic Communities
Councils of Australia

ICV: Islamic Council of Victoria

IWAQ: Islamic Women's Welfare Association
of Queensland

IWWCV: Islamic Women's Welfare Association
of Victoria

LIH: Living in Harmony

MAQ: Multicultural Affairs Queensland

MAU: Multicultural Affairs Unit

MLO: Multicultural Liaison Officer

MRA: Australia/Pacific Centre for Moral

MWA: United Muslim Women's Association Inc.

MWA of SA: Muslim Women's Association of
South Australia

MWNNA: Muslim Women's National Network of

NMRC: Northern Migrant Resource Centre

NSW ADB: New South Wales Anti-Discrimination

OMI: Office of Multicultural Interests

P/F: Port Folio

PACMAC: Police and Community Multicultural
Advisory Committee

QPS: Queensland Police Service

RMIT: Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology

RRTA: Victorian Racial and Religious
Tolerance Act

SBS: Special Broadcasting Service Corporation

SILC: Self Esteem, Identity, Leadership

TAFE: Technical and Further Education

The Commission: Human Rights and Equal Opportunity

UTS: University of Technology Sydney

VASS: Victorian Arabic Social Services

VMC: Victorian Multicultural Commission

VOMA: Victorian Office of Multicultural

Last updated 16 June 2004.