Aussie Christians say, `Give the Sheikh a Fair Go`

Released on: November 26, 2007, 11:43 pm

Press Release Author: David B Smith

Industry: Media

Press Release Summary: A coalition of Christian clerics in Sydney's inner-west has
expressed outrage at seeing their local Islamic Sheikh threatened with deportation.

Press Release Body: A coalition of Christian clerics in Sydney's inner-west has
expressed outrage at seeing their local Islamic Sheikh threatened with deportation.

Father Dave, coordinator of the 'Save the Sheikh' Christian coalition, said, "Sheikh
Mansour is a great guy. He's a personal friend of mine and someone I deeply respect
and admire. Moreover, he's a pacifist and a man committed to building bridges
between our faith communities and ethnic communities. The idea that this man could
somehow be a threat to national security is simply outrageous".

Last week Sheikh Mansour Leghaei lost his High Court appeal that might have allowed
the Iranian-born Sheikh to stay in the country. The appeal was not over whether he
was a risk to national security risk, but simply over whether he had the right to
have the matter heard in court. Mansour's request was denied. He was told that
because he is not an Australian citizen, he does not have the right to a fair trial!

"Denying Mansour the right to defend himself is nothing short of outrageous", said
Father Dave. "If I was picked up in Iran on suspicion of some crime, but told that
because I was an Australian, I had no right to a fair trial, the community here
would be understandably incensed, and we'd see it as an act of a totalitarian
regime. Why is it any different when the boot is on the other foot?"

Sheikh Mansour has no idea why ASIO has assessed him as a security risk and
threatened to deport him. Indeed, given the sheikh's immaculate record as a
bridge-builder and man of peace, his supporters wonder if it isn't the result of
some clerical error. But there is no way of knowing! No one will tell the Sheikh
what he has been accused of, and now the High Court has denied him the right to have
any independent assessment made of the government's supposed concerns!

Father Dave said, "Our government has been talking about how immigrants to this
country should be accepting Australian values and the Australian way of life. What
could be more Australian than giving someone a fair go? My mate Mansour has been
denied the right to a fair go!"

Local Christian leaders met with the Sheikh at the Islamic centre in Earlwood on
Friday, November 23rd, to show their support and to discuss ways forward. This will
be the first of a number of meetings, providing that the Sheikh isn't forcibly
deported before further actions can be organised. Updates will be posted to and to Father Dave's website:

Web Site:

Contact Details: Father Dave
Holy Trinity Church, Dulwich Hill
Tel: 02-9569-1255
Fax: 02-9569-1220
11 Herbert Street, Dulwich Hill, NSW 2203

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