keywords: Syria

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  • RELIGION

    Sheikh Fehmi talked me out of going to war

    • Irfan Yusuf
    • 04 October 2016
    11 Comments

    Fehmi Naji El-Imam, the former Grand Mufti of Australia who died last month, taught us at a time when we had no internet and books on Islam were limited. Politicised religion was all the craze. In Afghanistan, a coalition of local militias and foreign fighters, the Mujahideen, were receiving support from Western leaders. Conservative politicians praised them for taking on those nasty Soviet Communists. It was easy to be carried away, to have one's faith shaped by overseas events. I almost did.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Refugee children process trauma through drama

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 21 September 2016
    1 Comment

    At a Sydney school, a group of teenage refugees come together to share their stories, first with each other, and then with their friends and families via a live theatrical performance. Treehouse Theatre is run by three dedicated teachers, who facilitate the sharing, and help transform the children's stories into scripts that can be performed. Their stories are yet another reminder of the human cost of conflict, and of policies that exclude and further traumatise those who are fleeing from it.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    The Catholic Church's view on human rights

    • Frank Brennan
    • 05 September 2016
    1 Comment

    'I am a Jesuit amongst Dominicans contemplating the Church's view of human rights. I am a human rights practitioner rather than a theologian, aware that human rights discourse is increasingly more universal and secular. Contemplating, preaching and enacting human rights in the 21st Century Church and World, I come asking two questions.' Frank Brennan's keynote presentation in Salamanca Spain to the International Congress of Dominicans in the Promotion and Defence of Human Rights: Past, Present, Future on the occasion of their 800th anniversary.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    The world we choose to live in

    • Jim McDermott
    • 24 August 2016
    5 Comments

    Maybe standing there we weren't afraid about the fight that was happening across the street, but the fraying at the edges that it represents, the insecurity that the gospel both of Trump and against Trump seems to be creating in our society. It echoes the insecurity we hear in the Brexit vote, and the treatment of both ethnic British citizens and immigrants that followed. Likewise, the resurrection of Pauline Hanson and her One Nation party. None of it sounds good and where is it all going?

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Fear and loathing in One Nation's Australia

    • Kerry Murphy
    • 11 August 2016
    10 Comments

    Recently I was discussing the election of Pauline Hanson and One nation senators with some Hazara clients. These clients are Pakistani Hazaras, who speak good English. They told me they are worried about what Hanson says. 'She seems very angry,' said Ali. 'She does not understand Muslims,' added Hussein. Hussein was recently getting his car fixed and was asked if he was a Muslim. He replied that he was. 'I could see the man's face change,' Hussein told me. The man had become angry and fearful.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Questions for sub happy Australia

    • Justin Glyn
    • 09 May 2016
    15 Comments

    If Australia knows who its enemies are, presumably these putative enemies have a fairly good idea who they are as well. How are they likely to respond to a purchase of submarines? By initiating military countermeasures? By exacting trade sanctions? By diplomatic reprisals? These questions are vital, not just for military planners but also for anyone who is likely to be affected by Australian foreign policy as well as those who want to know more generally how their tax dollars are to be spent.

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  • RELIGION

    Anzac Day and just war scepticism go together

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 25 April 2016
    26 Comments

    The classical arguments originated at a time when casualties were suffered mostly by soldiers. In modern warfare, civilians overwhelmingly suffer. Just war theory is used as spin to give specious justification to military campaigns in whose devising ethical considerations played no part. Wars that governments wage are just; those waged by their enemies are unjust. By joining in such debate churches are co-opted into playing an intellectual game designed to make legitimate killing and destruction.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Francis in Lesbos confronts the unforgivable sin

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 19 April 2016
    10 Comments

    Pope Francis recently visited the island of Lesbos, another scene of immigrants' dire suffering, and surprised the world by taking 12 refugees back to Rome with him. Bernie Sanders asserted that the Pope, in his gesture of hope, is surely the greatest demonstration against a surrender to despair. I am still partly persuaded by Graham Greene's view of despair as being the unforgivable sin, but I'm also giving some thought to the distressing matter of indifference.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Offers of sanctuary brighten Australia's refugee dark age

    • Justin Glyn
    • 08 February 2016
    16 Comments

    Churches across Australia have made headlines by offering sanctuary to those who stand to be returned to Nauru following the High Court ruling, including 37 babies and a raped five-year-old whose attacker still resides there. In doing so, they have been rediscovering an old concept and reminding the government what refugee law was for in the first place. As in the Dark Ages, where the organs of the state are unable or unwilling to protect the vulnerable, it is the churches who are speaking out.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Ordinary heroes shine on suffering

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 29 January 2016
    9 Comments

    Nobel Laureate Isaac Bashevis Singer often made his characters ask the eternal questions, chiefly Why do we suffer? I can't profess to have any answers to this, except that it is obvious that 'time and chance happeneth to all'. Two examples of such happenings are the huge numbers of ill-fated refugees fleeing Syria and other trouble spots, and the needless death of young Sarah Paino of Hobart, wife and mother, who was killed when a speeding stolen car crashed into hers.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Refugee crisis demands and defies sustained reflection

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 21 January 2016
    7 Comments

    In our response to the forced movement of peoples we must recognise that our national identity is not built primarily on uniformity of religion and race but on adherence to the values that are enshrined in our social institutions. We must also recognise the way in which our own prejudices and fears affect the judgments and proposals we make, and exercise a proper scepticism about making quick judgments and drawing universal conclusions from particular events such as those in Cologne.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Australia's bridge-building role in Saudi-Iran dispute

    • Justin Glyn
    • 18 January 2016
    2 Comments

    The US, while backing Saudi Arabia, seems to be increasingly exasperated with how far it has to stick its neck out for its ally. Relationships with Iran, by contrast, have improved recently. The difficulty is that sections within both Iran and Saudi Arabia's governments seem to see a certain short-term interest in tearing the region apart. Australia, which has full diplomatic ties with Iran, a strong trade partnership with Saudi Arabia, and the ear of the US, can play an important diplomatic role.

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