The Tweed’s declaration as a Refugee Welcome Zone will be formalised at a free public screening of the documentary Mary Meets Mohammad, at The Regent Cinema in Murwillumbah on Sunday 7th February at 2pm.
“We are so pleased to extend a very warm welcome those who have been granted refuge in Australia,” Mayor of Tweed Councillor Katie Milne said. “Showing the hand of compassion and friendship to those who have been through such terrible times is a fundamental expression of our humanity.
“Even simple gestures of welcome can make an incredible difference to people’s lives and makes us all better people,” Cr Milne said. “All councillors voted unanimously to declare the shire as a Refugee Welcome Zone. I encourage the community to get involved with this great program and spread the word.”
The matinee screening will include an official signing of the Refugee Welcome Zone Declaration, as the Tweed joins the Lismore City, Coffs Harbour City and Port Macquarie-Hastings councils in aligning with the Refuge Council of Australia initiative.
Entry will be free to the 2pm screening of the feature-length film, which tells the story of Tasmania’s first detention centre and the bond that formed between local Christian woman Mary and Muslim Afghan Hazara asylum seeker Mohammad.
Mary is a staunchly Christian pensioner, and did not welcome the 400 male asylum seekers, but develops a friendship with Mohammad after her knitting club donates woollen beanies to the asylum seekers.
A meeting of Tweed Shire Council in September resolved to join the Refugee Council of Australia initiative and declare the Tweed a Refugee Welcome Zone.
By signing the declaration, Council gives ‘a commitment in spirit to welcoming refugees into our community, upholding the human rights of refugees, demonstrating compassion for refugees and enhancing cultural and religious diversity in our community’.
Council’s Director of Community and Natural Resources, Tracey Stinson, said declaring Tweed Shire a Refugee Welcome Zone was about demonstrating the Tweed’s welcoming and inclusive attitude towards refugees.
A Refugee Council of Australia representative is expected to attend the signing.
Courtesy: Tweed Shire Council Newsroom
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See also: Mary Meets Mohammad