A pastor in Australia has posted a sign that reads “Muslims welcome here” outside of his church to try to prevent members of his church and community from misunderstanding and discriminating against Muslims.
Michael Barnes of Gordon Uniting Church in New South Wales said that ISIS is causing Australians to assume that all Muslims are terrorists and he wanted to send an alternative message.
"Images of arrested Muslims dominated our airwaves for quite a few days. I was concerned that this, unwittingly, fed into and exacerbated general fear and anxiety in the community and more importantly that it made Muslims feel unwelcome in their own country,” Barnes said.
The pastor has also started an Interfaith Month, where the church will explain other religions and traditions to congregants. A Muslims will also lead a discussion called “Why jihadists do not represent Islam.”
"From my connections with the Muslim community, I know that they live with anxieties about attitudes to them in the community," Barnes said. "So many people don't meet with Muslims and yet have strong views about them."
Publication date: October 7, 2014