Australian bishop asks people to repent attacks on Indians

Philip Huggins, Bishop of northern and western regions asked forgiveness for "our prejudice and indifference" to people from different countries during a service titled 'prayers for peace and the welfare of all Indians in Australia', a media report said today.
"Forgive us for our arrogance in closing our eyes to other people's cultures," he said during the service at St. Paul's Cathedral, one of the famous churches in Melbourne.

"Forgive us for not honouring the culture of others, and thus taking away their self-respect ... forgive us for not listening to the griefs of all who are oppressed in this land, especially for Indians who are feeling vulnerable," he was quoted as saying by 'The Australian'.
According to the report, the service may add fuel to the debate whether there is a problem with violence against Indians and racism in the community.
Last week, Victorian Premier John Brumby hit back at former Australian Defence Force chief Peter Cosgrove who said it would be "easy to conclude" that some attacks against Indian students were racially motivated.

Brumby described the speech as factually inaccurate, but Victorian Police Commissioner Simon Overland has admitted police have known for two years that Indian students have been disproportionately targeted.

Tensions between India and Australia have been increasing since the 21-year-old accounting graduate Nitin Garg was stabbed to death earlier this month in Melbourne's western suburbs.
The Indian government has since put out a travel advisory for its students coming to Australia to study, and Victorian authorities have been criticised and caricatured by the Indian press for not attributing Garg's death to racial motives.
Anglican Archbishop Philip Freier told the service yesterday that people had to learn to have more empathy for the Indian community, especially those who were grieving.
"I think the present situation of the anxiety of people of Indian descent, of people who have come here as students or come here in recent years, is something that challenges Australians who have been here longer," he was quoted as saying by the paper.
"I think we need a leap of empathy to understand what it feels like for people in India, for parents, for family members ...who are anxious for the welfare of their family member in our country," he said.
Freier said Australia needed to express to India that they were committed to a society that was free of violence, inclusive and where everyone did "love their neighbour".

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