halafoff-advancingaustralian-2007.pdf (456.29 kB)
Advancing Australian 'shared security' : secular-religious peacebuilding networks
conference contributionposted on 2007-01-01, 00:00 authored by Anna HalafoffAnna Halafoff
The role of religious leaders in promoting social cohesion and ‘shared security’ is increasingly being examined by scholars, as is the growing multifaith movement. The VIIIth World Assembly of Religions for Peace first proposed the notion of ‘shared security’ and the importance of religious leaders’ role in advancing such a concept in Kyoto 2006. A recent study, Managing the Impact of Global Crisis Events on Community Relations in Multicultural Australia (Bouma et al. 2007) has documented the impacts of international crisis events and discourses of exclusion on religiously diverse communities in Australia, in particular rising Islamophobia, migrantophobia and attacks on multiculturalism. Religious communities have been far from passive in their responses to the impact of these events initiating dialogue and educational activities to dispel negative stereotypes and attitudes. State actors, including police, have prioritized engagement with religious leaders resulting in a rise of state supported multifaith and secular-religious peacebuilding activities. This paper argues that, in response to global risks of terror and exclusion, secular-religious networks including religious leaders, state actors, educators and the media have the potential to advance ‘shared security’ in multifaith societies, by drawing on Australian experiences documented in the Global Crisis Events study.