Religious leaders call for release of asylum-seekers

Asylum-seeker Mehdi Ali (Twitter)

A group of Australian religious leaders has launched a campaign urging Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese to work together to release asylum-seekers in detention. Source: Eternity News.

The #SetThemFree campaign picks up on the international attention drawn to the plight of Australia’s detained asylum-seekers by the saga of Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic, who was detained in Melbourne’s Park Hotel after his visa to enter Australia was cancelled.

Mehdi Ali, an Iranian immigrant who came to Australia at age 16, used the media interest in the tennis star’s experience to highlight his own plight of being locked up for nine years with no prospect of release.

Baptist minister Tim Costello spoke at Melbourne’s St Paul’s Anglican Cathedral on behalf of more than 30 faith leaders.

“Compassion is the core of every faith,” Mr Costello said. “It is significant that religious leaders are urging the Prime Minister, a man of faith, to meet with the Opposition Leader and together do something that is ultimately good for all Australians – agree on releasing refugees and asylum-seekers held in indefinite detention,” he said.

“There is currently no legislated end to indefinite detention. The refugees have been sacrificial lambs to the politics of border control and immigration for many years. This could be a watershed moment in which Australians can feel good about embracing a kinder approach.

Sister Brigid Arthur, coordinator of the Brigidine Asylum Seekers Project, said: “The Prime Minister and Opposition Leader have the power to set them free. It is a question of whether they will open their hearts and act, not a question of what to do.”

FULL STORY

Religious leaders campaign to end indefinite detention in wake of Djokovic saga (Eternity News)

RELATED COVERAGE

‘Inhuman’: Legal, human rights experts slam laws allowing detention in Australia (SBS News

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