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Anti-Islam stunt disrupts service at outspoken Australian church

26 August 2016

GOSFORD ANGLICAN CHURCH

Pertinent: Gosford church displayed one of its topically-signed notice boards, after the incident

Pertinent: Gosford church displayed one of its topically-signed notice boards, after the incident

AN ANTI-ISLAM group dressed in mock-Muslim clothes disrupted a service at the Anglican church in Gosford, north of Sydney, on Sunday morning.

The church and its Rector, Fr Rod Bower, are known for outspoken support of refugees and multi-culturalism, promoted mainly through signs on its noticeboard.

The group, “Party for Freedom”, entered the church halfway through the sermon. They pretended to pray while playing Muslim prayers on a loudspeaker, and criticised Islam before walking out.

Fr Bower described the incident as a “racist stunt”, and said that some of his parishioners were upset. He said he would support their right to hold a peaceful demonstration in a park, but to “come in and violate our sacred space and traumatise our congregation is simply unacceptable”.

The group says that it admires the newly elected anti-Islam senator Pauline Hanson, who wants the federal government to hold a royal commission into Islam. She has, however, distanced herself from the protest.

A spokesperson for her One Nation party said that, because a church is a sacred place to many people, “perhaps the Party for Freedom could have a different approach to making their statement”.

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