The following article has been published in J-Wire.
Peak Interfaith Dialogue has first Melbourne meeting
September 7, 2018
Delegates representing the peak national organisations of Australian Jews, Christians and Muslims met in Melbourne this week to discuss Australia’s unique religious and interfaith environment and ways of strengthening relationships.
The Australian National Dialogue of Christians, Muslims & Jews (ANDCMJ), internationally recognised as “best practice” in communication and cooperation, brought together participants from the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils (AFIC), the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) and the National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA).
Meeting in West Melbourne at the offices of the Islamic Council of Victoria, the discussion focused on the progress of relations since the Dialogue first met, at The Great Synagogue in Sydney, more than 16 years ago.
The session was co-chaired by Jeremy Jones, for the ECAJ, Sheikh Amin Hady for AFIC and Sister Patricia Madigan for the NCCA. All three were participants in the first meeting and in nearly all of the 51 sessions which have taken place since.
The role of the ANDCMJ in inspiring and encouraging a number of important local, national and international interfaith activities was a feature of the discussion.
Sheikh Hady noted the way the ANDCMJ had contributed to mentoring and encouraging a generation of leaders who were students when the dialogue began and are now leaders in their respective faiths, Sister Madigan noted the impact of the Dialogue on the interfaith scene in Australia and Mr Jones looked at the international situation, particularly in Asia and the Pacific, and how the Dialogue had made positive and constructive contributions.
After the formal meeting, delegates toured the on-site mosque and continued the conversation about religion in Australia in the 21st Century.
The Jewish delegation was Jeremy Jones, Honorary Life Member and former President of the ECAJ and Director of International and of Community Affairs for the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC), Frances Prince, Executive Member of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria with the Multicultural and Interfaith Portfolio, Melinda Jones, Board Member of the National Council of Jewish Women of Australia and Sharyn Mittelman, a member of the ECAJ’s National Dialogue with the Uniting Church in Australia and Senior Policy Analyst with AIJAC.