A letter to the Attorney General by Leigh Bottrell

On May 2nd, 2007, the Iman Hussein Islamic Centre sent out an open letter,asking that friends and supporters of Sheikh Mansour Leghaei write to the Attorney General, asking him why the Sheikh was under threat of deportation. Below is a response from one parishioner of Holy Trinity, Leigh Bottrell.

Dear Attorney

I am a member of Dulwich Hill’s Anglican parish of Holy Trinity, and am that parish’s Sydney Diocesan representative.

For 40 years I was one of Australia’s best-known newspaper journalists, including 11 years overseas as a foreign correspondent – although you may not know (of) me! In more recent times I have completely remade my life to become both an active Christian and a hard-working company director. I have been married (to the same extraordinarily resilient lady) for almost 50 years. We have two sons, one a Sydney lawyer, the other a senior SMH journalist. One son’s wife is an architect and they have two sons aged 13 and 10. The other son is married to a senior advertising executive. No kids (barren?).

I give you these personal facts in an effort to illustrate to you that I am not some sort of young Leftie Ratbag, or even a naive never-been-anywhere, never-done-anything, pipe-and-slippers sort of suburban Australian throwback to the days of White Australia. I also vote for and as I deem circumstances demand.

Now, to the point. Why is Sheik Mansour about to be chucked out of Australia, where he has lived peacefully and peaceably for a decade?

What has this bloke done, said or suggested to anyone, anywhere, that demands his being shipped out? Why is this matter being covered up by you, your bureaucratic minions and uncounted and unaccountable door-knockers from the Federal Police?

This man runs a tight and quiet ship (or should that be dhow?) away from the Mad Mob at Lakemba who give all Muslims a scary name and reputation in “modern” Australia’s embarrassingly provincial society.

My wife and I have met him, eaten with him (he didn’t eat us, amazingly!), and we have listened to what he and his young and obviously well-educated and adjusted Australian congregation have had to say on a range of matters.

But more pertinently, Mansour is a friend and respected fellow worker for God with Father Dave Smith, the doughty “Fighting Father” of Holy Trinity, Dulwich Hill. Now, may I suggest Attorney that if a bloke is okay by Dave Smith, it’s a fair bet he’s also right with the rest of reasonable, and reasoning, society in “modern” Australia.

However, if there is something shonky, crook, smelly, oily, rank, ugly, off-colour, depraved, criminal, lewd, ghastly, uncivilised, seditious, murderous, mad, sick or rotten about Mansour . . . for all our sakes tell us right away. And while you’re about it, let him on it, too!

Either that, or let the bloke go about his community bridge-building in peace and dignity. He is by nature a peaceable and dignified man; more, I might say, Attorney, than you come across as. It would seem we need more, not fewer, Mansours in your “modern” Australia.

Right. I feel much better now. Care for a bet on the outcome of the next election, Attorney? I know a Muslim SP who’ll let you on for as much as you like . . .

Leigh Bottrell

Rosebery Sydney
May 11th, 2007

 Leigh Bottrell

Journalist, Company Director, Parishioner and Synod Representative, Holy Trinity Dulwich Hill.

About Father Dave

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four
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