Happy Holidays from Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions

Imam Malik Mujahid

Board Chair of the Parliament

Dear Friends,

The holiday season is a great occasion to share memories and hopes for the future. 
As hate, anger, and fear is rising in the world, we all must rise with loving human relationships to create space for hope. We must work together for peace, justice and sustainability. 
The 2015 Parliament is one such occasion where more than 10,000 interfaith networkers will come together from 80+ nations and religions come together to share and learn from each other for the betterment of the world. 
Here is what we request you to do during this holiday season when we will all have more opportunity to talk to each other than normal days. 
  • Bring up these topics during family gatherings:
    • Climate Change, War & Violence, Widening Income Gap
    • What can we do at an individual level to meet these challenges
    • What civil society, religious and interfaith organizations can do in this regard
  • If some unique ideas emerge this holiday season you may want to submit a program proposal to the next Parliament. Maybe your family has some unique solutions. Here is where you can submit a proposal. 
  • Plan together to attend the next Parliament where these three critical issues will be discussed. Now we have 4 Nobel Laureates who are confirmed to deliver keynote addresses. 
  • If you or your friends have not yet registered, please do so now to take advantage of the 40% off Early Bird registration
  • Please do encourage younger members of the family to attend the Parliament. It is their world which we all are trying to improve for the better.


Imam Malik Mujahid
P.S. Please do remember to donate before the year's end.

P.P.S. ...and please watch out for waste during the holiday season. The USDA estimates that 15% of food items we buy are thrown out without opening. Wasteful consumption drives ruthless production requiring fossil fuels damaging to the earth. 
More Information:
Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions
Telephone: 312-629-2990

Online Registration:

Buddhist Council of Victoria Buddhist and Interfaith Prayer and Blessing Ceremony

[Edited extract of public address]

On behalf of the Buddhist and Interfaith Communities of Victoria the Buddhist Council of Victoria hosted an Interfaith Prayer and Blessing Ceremony to express our deepest condolence and sympathy to the victims of the Sydney hostage tragedy, their friends and families.

We share the sense of shock and loss caused by this senseless and traumatic act on those innocent individuals, their families, workmates and friends and on the peace and harmony of our Australian society.

Venerable Buddhist Sangha, Priests, Nuns, Faith Leaders and Representatives of our various Religious and Spiritual Communities joined in an Interfaith Prayer and Blessing Ceremony to offer our condolences, blessings and heartfelt love to all those who have suffered and continue to suffer throughout harrowing and difficult times.

We joined together on this occasion to express our devotion to peace and harmony for the happiness and well-being of all within our Australian community.

A special thankyou to attending Committee Members and Buddhist Society of Victoria, East Malvern for providing such a warm welcome and supportive venue.

More information:
BVC Vice President Gerald Lim
Telephone 0413 336 543

Making Interfaith a Staple of Society, Bringing people of faith together for a better world.

Professor, The Reverend Gary D Bouma AM

Chair, Local Board of Directors

2009 Parliament of the World's Religions Melbourne

[Edited extract from public address from

Five years ago the Parliament of the World’s Religions convened in Melbourne, Australia. It was a grand occasion made colourful literally and spiritually by the presence of the richest diversity of religions, faiths, spiritualities, and ways of life.

In the process of preparing for and conducting the 2009 Parliament, interreligious relations in Melbourne and the State of Victoria were greatly enhanced. Building on decades of positive interfaith leadership and political leaders from all major parties committed to promoting a multicultural and multifaith society characterised by intergroup understanding grounded in mutual respect, the 2009 Parliament drew together new and younger people who had not worked together in making harmony real. They joined those who had gone before and added their own dimensions to the effort.

For example, as a direct result of the 2009 Parliament, the number of City Councils in the City of Melbourne with ‘interreligious committees’ rose from 3 to 23 leaving only a few without. This brought the energy of interfaith activities to the grass-roots level and continues to produce much fruit. This means that local issues can be managed at the local level in the first instance. Local leadership is drawn into supporting activities as diverse as Iftar dinners during Ramadan, to Bathing the Buddha gatherings, to colourful Divali festivals and a host of other religious events. It is normal and expected for civic and religious leaders to be seen together at events and it is apparent that they know each other and work together.

Many country towns in the state of Victoria also have interreligious councils as increasing numbers of migrants settle outside the capital cities. These newcomers are welcomed as their numbers keep open vital services in towns with declining populations. So schools remain open along with banks, pharmacies and other commercial establishments. Indeed, while Australia tries to discourage refugees, many rural communities say, "send them here, we will welcome them."

While some of this might have happened without the 2009 Parliament, it cannot be denied that the event had a major effect accelerating and adding quality and depth to a process already in place.

Faith Leaders Call for Unity and Peace

Statement on behalf of the Multifaith Advisory Group (MAG) and Faith Communities Council of Victoria (FCCV) in response to the tragic event in Sydney 

The members of the Victorian Multifaith Advisory Group (MAG) and the Faith Communities Council of Victoria (FCCV) would like to offer our deepest condolences and sympathies to the victims of the Sydney hostage crisis and their families.  We also extend our sincere gratitude to the police and emergency services personnel who put their lives at risk in the service of others.

We are shocked and saddened by this terrible act of violence and our thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected by this tragic event. 

Australia is a diverse and harmonious place where people from many different cultures, religions and spiritualties have made their home. Together, we live in peace and respect one another. 

We support the National Board of Imams and the wider Muslim community who have stated that the beliefs and acts of the individual responsible do not reflect the teachings of Islam, nor the desire for peace of Australian Muslims. 

During this sad and difficult time we call upon all Australians to unite in affirming peace and continuing to support one another. 

The overwhelming community support, including the #illridewith you Twitter campaign is heartening and reflects our shared humanity and values. 

We encourage all people to reach out to each other in the spirit of peace.    

More Information:

The MAG consists of approximately 20 senior representatives from Victoria’s diverse faith communities, including the Baha’i, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh and interfaith communities. The MAG represents the voice of Victoria’s faith leaders to the Victorian Government.

The FCCV is an umbrella multifaith body contributing to the harmony of the Victorian community by promoting positive relations between people of different faiths and greater public knowledge and mutual understanding of the teachings, customs and practices of Victoria's diverse faith traditions.

GEIFN Gathers

GEIFN’s casual series of [monthly] breakfasts to practice inter-faith-ing. Those interested in building friendship with people of other backgrounds through informality and local cafe culture, feel welcome.

No bookings required, just turn up [1st Wednesday] of month at venue and look for a familiar face. [Spouses, partners, children welcome.] The next dates and venue are listed below. 

Breakfast: 7-8.00am
Coffee/Tea: 8-8.30am
Come for a part or stay for both. Participants pay own costs.

NOW CONSISTENT VENUE: 1st Monday each month
1 September, 6 October:
Spot Cafe
215 Balaclava Road, Caulfield North 3161

NEW CONVENIENT DAY: 1st Wednesday each month
5 November, 3 December:
Spot Cafe
215 Balaclava Road, Caulfield North 3161

NEW YEAR: 1st Wednesday each month
7 January, 4 February, 4 March:
Spot Cafe
215 Balaclava Road, Caulfield North 3161

In keeping with the "flash-gather" idea, venue does not know we are coming and may be subject to change due to changing nature of things. 

Contact GEIFN Gathers coordinator Carey 0438 371 488 with questions, advise attendance, leave a mobile number for an SMS reminder on day or to be advised of changed plans.

Kingston Interfaith Network Art Exhibition - Humanity, Harmony and Happiness

Opening Night: Tuesday, 5 August 2014 Time: 6-8pm
Location: St Nicholas Gallery 9 Bear St, Mordialloc

Discussion with Panel of Artists: Sunday 17 August Time: 2-4pm
Location: as above

Exhibition will be open between 4– 23 August 2014
Location: as above
Gallery opening hours: Mon-Thur: 12-3pm, Sat:10am-1pm

Expressions of interest for artwork submissions due Monday 30th June
Contact: Kate Daddo or (03) 9581 4734

GEIFN Gathers*

To accommodate increasing personal demands in busy times, GEIFN is embarking on a casual series of [monthly] breakfasts to get-inter-faith-ing. Those interested in building friendship, informality and interfaith, while exploring local cafe culture, all welcome.

No bookings required, just turn up [1st Monday] of month at the venue and look for a familiar face. [Spouses, partners, children welcome.] The next 3  dates and venues are listed below. 

* Temporary Working Title. Attending participants can cast your vote for this and other suggestions: Groovers, Grazers, Gobblers, Grubbers, GEIFNtogethers.

Breakfast: 7-8.00am
Coffee/Tea: 8-8.30am
Come for a part or stay for both. Participants pay own costs.

Monday 2 June: 
Cafe Uffizi
53 Hawthorn Road, Caulfield Junction

Monday 7 July:
Queenie Apple Wholefoods Cafe
768 Glen Huntley Road, Caulfield South

Monday 4 Aug:
Spot Cafe
215 Balaclava Road, Caulfield North, 
[Review Format, Modify in necessary, Decide next 3 locations]

In keeping with the "flash-gather" idea, venues do not know we are coming and may be subject to change due to changing nature of things. Notify GEIFN Gathers coordinator Carey 0438 371 488 if you have questions or are coming, leave a mobile number for an SMS reminder on day or advice of changed plans.

Clergy to Clergy Breakfasts

The GEIFN plan to arrange for small groups of local religious leaders to meet informally for breakfasts. We will be contacting religious leaders in the Glen Eira community to invite and make arrangements.

Listening to the Sounds of Silence - a multifaith imperative

The Swinburne Multi faith facility invites you to its 3rd anniversary celebration:

Topic: Listening to the sounds of silence - a multifaith imperative.
Date: Wednesday, 7th May 2014 Time: 4.00pm-5.30pm
Location: Swinburne University [GS 302] - The George 34 Wakefield Street, Hawthorn (3 minutes' walk from the Glenferrie Station)

Opened by the Swinburne Vice Chancellor Professor Linda Kristjanson and addressed by Rev Dr Denham Grierson (FACE) - internationally recognised educator and Emeritus Professor at the United Faculty of Theology – Melbourne. Denham will approach the event from a perspective that seeks to engage the academic community rather than bring a particular faith perspective. His starts with the questions: Is there one God or many? Can such a dispute be resolved? His topic: Listening to the sounds of silence - a multi faith imperative.

His reflection engages the thought of Stephen Prothero - Boston University Professor of Religion and particularly his 2012 book God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions That Run the World. Prothero delves into the different problems and solutions that Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism, Confucianism, Yoruba Religion, Daoism and Atheism strive to combat.

Light refreshments will be served.

RSVP to by Friday 2nd May 2014.

Contact: Rev. Newton Daddow, Chaplain Swinburne University: Telephone +61 3 9214 8489 Mobile 0425 757038

Challenges for Minority Religions in the Middle East

Keynote speaker: Dr Debbie Weissman, President International Council of Christians and Jews
Date: Sunday, 1 June 2014 Time: 2.30 pm
Location: Edmund Rice Education Australia - 9 The Vaucluse, Richmond (off Church Street, ample parking)
Vehicle entry from St Kevin's Waterford Campus on the Vaucluse opp. St Ignatius Church.
Cost: $10.00
RSVP: Please advise attendance by ringing or emailing (03) 9429 5212,

Walking with Pope Francis - Interfaith Relations in the Midst of Contemporary Global Challenges

A conversation led by Prof. John Pawlikowski OSM (of Catholic Theological Union in Chicago)

Thursday 22 May, 2014, 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Room M5.30
Australian Catholic University, 115 Victoria Parade, Fitzroy

RSVP: Phone: (03) 9953 3432

AGM Report

We were graciously hosted for our Annual General Meeting held on Mon 28 Apr 14, by Rabbi Stein  and other members of Kehilat Nitzan.

David Southwick MP, the State Member for the seat of Caulfield and Parliamentary Secretary for Police and Emergency Services was a guest at the meeting.

We were privileged to have Professor Gary Bouma as our Guest Speaker.  Professor Bouma presented on why Australia is successfully multifaith and compared the Australian position with that of other nations and discussed factors that contribute to this, including demographic factors, a culture of multiculturalism, theological factors and political leadership.

There was no change to office holders at the meeting, with Mark Bender from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints continuing as Chair and Ruth Arber from Kehilat Nitzan as Secretary.