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Old 10th September 2015, 09:00 AM
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Default Media Release: Syrian Refugee Crisis and Religion


The Government's announcement that it will permanently resettle an additional 12,000 Syrian refugees is welcomed by the Atheist Foundation of Australia (AFA). We support helping displaced and desperate people as much as possible.

However, religion (or the lack of it) should not be a deciding factor in helping those in need.

Calls for help with the Syrian crisis have resulted in worrying suggestions that any intake should be biased in favour of Christians. Unlike the French Prime Minister who unequivocally rejected that idea, the Australian Government continues to leave the door open - at least by implication.

Australians' genuine expression of compassion should not be limited on the basis of belief. Regardless of their cultural and religious background, the harrowing accounts of persecution and powerlessness should not result in prioritising on the basis of whether those in need are of 'the correct faith'.

Combined with the recent Border Force debacle, the AFA is concerned at a tendency towards othering, silencing and promoting fear, which contributes to the worrying rhetoric that exists around refugees to this country. The Government appears to be engaging in "dog-whistle" politics to pander to the likes of Rise Up Australia party, Reclaim Australia, Fred Nile and the Australian Christian Lobby - who have all demanded that Christians be preferenced.
"Charity and humanitarian assistance, funded by all Australian taxpayers, should not be co-opted to preference sectarian interests" AFA President Michael Boyd said. "It should be made available equitably to people of all faiths and none - the plight of non-believers in that conflict having been lost in the distasteful religious clamouring for the lions' share of that charity".
The AFA calls on the Government to adopt a transparent, fully non-discriminatory protocol for selecting 12,000 Syrian refugees for resettlement in Australia, equitably considering applicants of all faiths, and of no faith at all.


Michael Boyd

President
Atheist Foundation of Australia Inc
PO Box 1062
Lane Cove NSW 1595
Phone: (02) 8007 4503
Email: president@atheistfoundation.org.au
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Old 10th September 2015, 10:49 AM
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Default Re: Media Release: Syrian Refugee Crisis and Religion

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two dogs said View Post
Calls for help with the Syrian crisis have resulted in worrying suggestions that any intake should be biased in favour of Christians.
Very strange, that people should be judged more suitable in the guise of religion. Of course they claim it's because they are the most oppressed minority, a claim that's almost laughable when examined closely. The most oppressed minorities are these oppressed by what they are, not what hey believe. Any Christian can immediately become non-oppressed simply by changing their religion.

The most oppressed minorities are of course people of differing sexual orientation, who whether they be Christian, Muslim or any other of the various sects are murdered the moment they are discovered. So I put it forward that we should push the proposition that these are the people we should be rescuing and call on the government to immediately accept 10,000 gays from the Middle East.

Of curse we all know I am not being serious, refugees are refugees, whether they are Christian, Muslim, atheist or gay, but I can imagine the outcry from religious groups if that idea was put forward, but essentially, it is a more worthy idea than accepting 10,000 Christians, which demonstrates how poor a concept that was to start with!
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Old 10th September 2015, 01:15 PM
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Default Re: Media Release: Syrian Refugee Crisis and Religion

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two dogs said View Post
"Charity and humanitarian assistance, funded by all Australian taxpayers, should not be co-opted to preference sectarian interests" AFA President Michael Boyd said. "It should be made available equitably to people of all faiths and none - the plight of non-believers in that conflict having been lost in the distasteful religious clamouring for the lions' share of that charity".
Congratulations, very well put. I'm very happy i joined the AFA. The plight of non-believers in Syria is far grimmer than that of xtians and this point has been completely ignored in the media.
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Old 10th September 2015, 02:11 PM
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Default Re: Media Release: Syrian Refugee Crisis and Religion

ISIS has demonstrated their enthusiasm to behead, Muslims and non-Muslims, those of any creed or no creed. They are not even kind to each other, if the stories of forced marriages and woman-beating are correct.
All people feel pain and miser, nor matter what they believe of don't believe. Being traumatized by war, dislocated, unemployed, half-starved in many cases-what these refugees need is help and compassion, not the same old discrimination.
And apart from the humanitarian ethic, giving every one of these refugees all the help and support and opportunity we can --gives us one big huge motherfucking weapon against ISIS and other tyranny. It is called love.
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Old 12th September 2015, 11:09 AM
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Default Re: Media Release: Syrian Refugee Crisis and Religion

Found this coverage of our Media Release across all news.com.au online platforms. Emphases mine.

‘Don’t exclude the atheists’: refugee debate turns to who will be resettled in Australia
Quote:
AUSTRALIAN atheists today are demanding the Abbott government includes non-religious Syrians when refugees are selected for resettlement here.
They hope those allocating assistance will be “equitably considering applicants of all faiths, and of no faith at all”.

Government officials will travel to refugee camps in Turkey and Jordan to work with the United Nations to identify 12,000 individuals from persecuted minorities for transfer to Australia.
This would include Christians but the government has denied they are the only minority being targeted in Syria.
The Atheist Foundation of Australia said religion — or the lack of it — should not be a deciding factor in helping those in need.
“Calls for help with the Syrian crisis have resulted in worrying suggestions that any intake should be biased in favour of Christians,” said the AFA in a statement.
“Unlike the French Prime Minister (Manuel Valls) who unequivocally rejected that idea, the Australian government continues to leave the door open — at least by implication.”

Former Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock today said there were many minorities suffering from the violence of the Syrian civil war and the butchery of the Islamic State. And they were not all Christian.
“There are some Christian groups that have been targeted. We know that. But there have been others,” he told ABC radio.
Mr Ruddock said there were members of minority Muslim faiths who have been beheaded and hunted in Iraq.
And yesterday Prime Minister Tony Abbott said transfers would not be limited to Christians.
“Some Mulsim (sic) people are very much members of persecuted minorities. As I said, there’s Druze, there’s Kurds, there’s Turkmen, there’s Yazidi,” said Mr Abbott.
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Old 14th September 2015, 08:16 PM
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Default Re: Media Release: Syrian Refugee Crisis and Religion

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Logic please said View Post
Found this coverage of our Media Release across all news.com.au online platforms. Emphases mine.

‘Don’t exclude the atheists’: refugee debate turns to who will be resettled in Australia
Pity they see it as being about atheists missing out. Its about not selectively helping people that are all in great distress and peril.
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Old 14th September 2015, 10:47 PM
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Default Re: Media Release: Syrian Refugee Crisis and Religion

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DanDare said View Post
Quote:
Logic please said View Post
Found this coverage of our Media Release across all news.com.au online platforms. Emphases mine.

‘Don’t exclude the atheists’: refugee debate turns to who will be resettled in Australia
Pity they see it as being about atheists missing out. Its about not selectively helping people that are all in great distress and peril.
Indeed Dan, that unfortunate "re-angling" of the substantive thrust of the MR was noted.
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Last edited by Logic please; 14th September 2015 at 10:54 PM.
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