by Isaac Wilson
MEMBERS of the Save the Sheikh Christian Coalition are calling on the new Government to help stop a top Islamic cleric from being deported
Led by Father Dave Smith of the Holy Trinity Church at Dulwich Hill, the coalition of Inner West Christian Ministers is pushing for the labor Government to overturn a decision by the Australlan Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) which requested that Iranian-born Shelkh Mansour Leghaei “deport himself” after a lengthy battle to clear his name with the spy agency failed.
Sheikh Mansour is the founder and religious director of the Imam Hussain Islamic Centre and theSchool of Islamic Theology at Earlwood and has lived in Australia for l3 years. However, he had his visa revoked after he lost the recent High Court appeal.
“We have no legal recourse so it’s Just a matter of throwing ourselves at the goodwill of the new Government,” Father Dave said.
The sheikh has not heen told why ASIO considers him a security risk and has not been given an opportunity to defend himself because he is not an Australian citizen, Father Dave said, adding that the treatment of the sheikh had been nothing short of outrageous.
A Federal Court ruling in 2005 ASIO did not have to disclose why it considered him a threat.
The coalition was joined by the wider Christian and Muslim community which rallied together at Hurlstone Park last Sunday for a “good Aussie barbeque” In a bid to present a united front in support of their friend.
“Sheikh Mansour is a good man and a good friend, and he’s a person who has given many years of faithful service to this community, Father Dave said. It Is only fitting that local persons of all faiths and persuasions come together to support him.”
The group also pushed for justice for all, regardless of race or religion.
“We are all Australians, and we should all be entitled to a fair go,” Father Dave said. “Its a win-win situation if we can come together, show our unity and help a great man.