Paul Griffin , Lismore NSW, Australia, The Buddhist Channel, May 6, 2011
S. Muthiah’s article (Buddhist Channel Australian News) on the growth of Buddhism in Australia presents only one side of the story: it is natural that rapid growth within an environment founded on one-dimensional Western cultural values must experience some growing pains and that is in fact evidenced by incidents of discrimination against Indian culture across the country.
There are ongoing attacks against Indian students in Melbourne and a Thai monk was murdered while meditating in a public park in Perth.
My own pilgrimages from Darwin to Sri Lanka were subject to surveillance by federal police and pedophilia was suspected; a Sydney NSW Crown Solicitor’s report claimed Buddhist belief and practice would contribute to criminal behaviour.
In Victoria, the education dept. has restricted the teaching of Buddhism in schools through biased funding to Middle Eastern religions, even though a need exists.
Attempts to complain against such discrimination through channels such as the Aust. Human Rights Commission are met by a legal structure which has no provision to protect Indian religions and in my experience, such applications fail.
The official federal government policy of Multiculturalism is used to project an overall facade of pluralism and incidents of Indian discrimination are played down: a judge recently found that an assault by a group who had gone out looking for Indians was not racially based !
Clearly at some point the dots must be joined and Australia must face the growing Indian cultural influence and a program of reform initiated throughout government agencies.
That should be the responsibility of the newly instituted Secretary of Multicultural Affairs.