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JCCV was active in addressing the issues surrounding the AIPC

JCCV was active in addressing the issues surrounding the AIPC

21 March 2013

The Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) was very active in its campaign to support multiculturalism and avoid any anti-Semitism, religious intolerance or racial vilification from speakers at the Australian Islamic Peace Conference (AIPC).

David Marlow, Executive Director of the JCCV said that “like a duck, there was not much to see above the surface, but underneath we were pedalling like crazy.”

The JCCV was active in three main areas:

  • Firstly, with the excellent support of the ECAJ, we were researching the backgrounds and previous comments of the proposed and alleged speakers at the AIPC.  Many of the highly contentious speakers who raised anxieties the most appear to have never been invited or at least had not applied for visas into Australia.  We were constantly monitoring the internet, as the list of speakers being promoted changed almost daily.
  • Secondly, through many letters, meetings and briefings we expressed our horror and dismay at some of the proposed speakers because of their past comments to the organiser of the AIPC, the Islamic Council of Victoria (ICV), the Victorian Multicultural Commission and the State Government.  The Minister for Multicultural Affairs was very supportive and warned the AIPC organiser of his responsibility with respect to any potential racial vilification, religious intolerance or inappropriate incitement at the conference.
  • Thirdly, we worked through the Jewish Muslim Christian Association (JCMA) and the Victorian Multicultural Advisory Group to have multifaith group support for statements in support of multiculturalism and genuine interfaith dialogue in the interest of community harmony, but warning the AIPC that participants who introduced overseas hatreds and incited religious vilification was unacceptable.  We achieved a particularly strong statement supporting our view from the JCMA which was signed by the JCMA President, who is himself an Imam, and many church groups strongly supported our case.

None of the contentious speakers made an appearance at the actual event and it received very little publicity.  The JCCV will continue to work with the State Government, ICV and various interfaith bodies to help ensure that we can avoid any repetition of the anxieties raised.

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