Monday, June 25, 2007

Finally, a peaceful result

It's been a long time in coming, but finally the row between the Muslims in Victoria and the Catch the Fire Ministries has come to a peaceful conclusion.

From what I've read of the transcripts of what was said in the meetings in focus I find it hard to understand why it became a row in the first place. It's almost as if someone was looking for an argument and to cause ructions.

I pray blessing on both parties.

Handshake ends Vic Christian, Muslim row - Breaking News - National - Breaking News

Mediation and handshakes have ended a five year racial vilification battle between an evangelical Christian group and a Victorian Muslim body.

The Catch The Fire Ministries sparked a row with the Islamic Council of Victoria (ICV) in 2002 when it claimed in a newsletter that Muslims were demons training to make Australia an Islamic state, that the Koran promoted violence and killing and that Muslims derived money from drugs.

Catch the Fire pastor Daniel Nalliah said he was relieved the long-running case, which was settled in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) after a hearing in the Victorian Court of Appeal, was now over.

"No-one expected it to be so prolonged," Pastor Nalliah told AAP.

He said the two parties were able to resolve the matter after seven hours of mediation last Friday.

"On the same day, my wife Maryse delivered a baby girl so I had had just two hours sleep before mediation," Pastor Nalliah said.

"We found ourselves in a very friendly environment talking about the baby.

"The mediation brought two communities to a closer relationship - there was a lot of goodwill and a lot of shaking of hands."

In a joint statement the ICV, Pastor Nalliah and Pastor Daniel Scot, who aired the offending comments at a seminar, said they recognised the rights of all to express their own religious beliefs, while also recognising everyone's dignity and worth.

It was the first case to be heard by VCAT under Victoria's 2002 Racial and Religious Tolerance Act.

Former ICV president Yasser Soliman said he welcomed Pastor Nalliah's comments and hoped the two communities could move forward together.

"It's most important for people in this day and age to be talking directly to each other rather than talking about each other," Mr Soliman said.

© 2007 AAP

Children for sale

Here's a rather distressing piece of news. What has happened to us? Children being an item to be traded? And for what purposes? I dread to think given the many pedophile gangs there are operating in the world today.

Children for sale: police target gangs - World -

PARIS: Police in France are investigating a trade in children, with babies being offered for sale at more than $15,000 each.

Detectives believe that Eastern European gangs are holding impromptu "auctions" in supermarket car parks across the south of the country and in Portugal.

They chose to release a warning because of the possibility that Madeleine McCann, who vanished in Portugal last month, has been caught up in the trade.

The alert comes as shoppers in a Monaco branch of Carrefour, the international hypermarket chain, reported seeing a four-year-old girl - the same age as Madeleine - escaping abduction.

Her would-be kidnappers were said to have tried to cut off her hair before she fled in tears. When passers-by raised the alarm during the incident, which is believed to have happened last week, the failed abductors escaped in a car with foreign plates.

Details of the most recent attempted sale of a baby are even more definite.

It happened in a hypermarket car park near Angouleme, north of Bordeaux, last month.

Two Romanian couples were arrested trying to sell a two-month-old girl for between €10,000 ($15,900) and €15,000, a police spokesman said.

Telegraph, London