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Response to the Book Launched by Dr Shimon Cowen

Response to the Book Launched by Dr Shimon Cowen

24 August 2016

On Wednesday 24 August the Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) issued a media release regarding Rabbi Shimon Cowen's new book entitled 'Homosexuality, Marriage and Society'.  The JCCV's public statement was based, in part, on a report about Rabbi Cowen's book that was published in The Australian newspaper on Tuesday 23 August.  Rabbi Cowen has advised the JCCV that his book does not compare homosexuality to incest and bestiality.  Further, Rabbi Cowen emphatically rejects any assertion to the contrary.  The JCCV accepts Rabbi Cowen's assurance and apologises to Rabbi Cowen if we have inadvertently misstated his views.

President Jennifer Huppert reaffirmed the JCCV's unequivocal support for Jewish people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex: "Jews of all sexual orientation and gender identity must be shown respect, be welcomed by the community and encouraged to be full, contributing and active community members. "

We would also like to reassert the multifaith statement against homophobia, biphobia and transphobia JCCV launched after Orlando. That statement has been supported by 50 varied religious bodies and faith leaders, including the Rabbinical Council of Victoria, Kehilat Nitzan and Progressive Judaism Victoria.

Multifaith Statement Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia

The incredible violence against innocent LGBTI community members in Orlando is deplored in the strongest possible terms.  There is no excuse for such appalling and evil actions, driven by hate and intolerance.

As faith leaders in the Victorian community, we recognise the sanctity of every human life.  Every community member is entitled to live their lives free of fear, bullying, intimidation or violence.

Everyone, of any sexual orientation or gender identity should be treated with respect and dignity.  The physical health, safety and mental health of all Victorian community members is of vital importance.  To this end, we call for all faith communities and community members to take a strong stand against homophobia, biphobia and transphobia.

Supported by:

AMAFHH Federation
Australian Asian Alliance
Australian Catholics for Equality
Australian Union of Jewish Students (AUJS) Vic
B’nai B’rith Antidefamation Commission (ADC)
Prof Gary Bouma, The UNESCO Chair in Interreligious and Intercultural Relations – Asia Pacific and Associate Priest, St John’s Anglican Parish, East Malvern
Brahma Kumaris Australia
Buddhist Council of Victoria
Council of Christians and Jews
Dr Hass Dellal AO, Executive Director, Australian Multicultural Foundation
Mohammed Elleissy, Community Worker
Mohamed Elrafihi, Adviser to Minister for Finance & Minister for Multicultural Affairs Robin Scott
Sam Afra, Chair of the Ethnic Communities Council of the South East (ECCOSE) Inc
Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria (ECCV)
Solaimon Fahiz, Chief of Staff to Minister Robin Scott
Sheihk Riad Galil OAM, Senior Imam West Heidelberg Mosque
Benjamin Oh, Chair, GLBTIQ Interfaith & Intercultural Network (GIIN)
Hindu Council of Australia, Victorian Division
Hindu Foundation Bishop Philip Huggins, Anglican Diocese of Melbourne
iEmpower InterAction
The Interfaith Centre of Melbourne
Jewish Care Victoria
Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV)
Kehilat Nitzan
Dr Michael Bernard Kelly, Catholic writer and activist
Keshet Australia
LGBTI Latin and Hispanics in Victoria
Lutheran Church of Australia Victorian District
Muslims for Progressive Values - Australia
Imam Nur Warsame and Marhaba
National Council of Jewish Women of Australia (Vic) (NCJWA)
North Eastern Jewish Centre (NEJC)
Online Hate Prevention Institute (OHPI)
Dr Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli, Founding Member on behalf of the Australian GLBTIQ Multicultural Council (AGMC)
Progressive Judaism Victoria
Rabbinical Council of Victoria
Rainbow Catholic InterAgency for Ministry
Dr Gavi Ansara, Founding Coordinator, Rosh Pinah: An Affirming Orthodox Jewish Network
The Salvation Army
Sikh Interfaith Council
Socially Engaged Buddhists of Australia
Temple Beth Israel
Sharon Hollis, Moderator, Uniting Church of Australia Synod of Victoria and Tasmania
United Religions Initiative
Anthony Venn-Brown, CEO, Ambassadors and Bridge Builders International (ABBI)
Victorian Council of Churches (VCC)
Wesley Mission Victoria



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