Harris Park school targeted by anti-Christian threats

19 Sep



Calm influence: Joseph Wakim outside the Maronite College of the Holy Family where a staff member was threatened. Picture: Gene Ramirez

Calm influence: Joseph Wakim outside the Maronite College of the Holy Family where a staff member was threatened. Picture: Gene Ramirez

At about 2pm on Tuesday, two men drove past the Maronite College of The Holy Family in a red hatchback with what resembled an IS flag and shouted at a nun form the school they were going to ”get you Christians” and ”slaughter your children”.

She notified the principal who contacted police.

About 1000 students from kindergarten to year 12 attend the school, on Alice Street.

College spokesman Joseph Wakim said parents had received newsletters explaining the incident and he hoped no one would ”use and abuse” social media to give an untrue version of events.

He said he was not surprised that the story had made it to London’s Daily Mail.

”One of the narratives in this post ‘war on terror’ situation is homegrown terrorism,” he said.

”We woke up this morning to the news of arrests in Brisbane and Sydney by the Federal Police of terrorist suspects.

”It’s really easy to conflate the two and think that these people are terrorists who are coming to exact harm on local Christians as they have done in Iraq [but] people are making this parallel that doesn’t actually exist.

‘‘Because we’re living in a volatile time incidents such as this — whether they happen in front of a church or a mosque or a synagogue — are going to attract a lot of attention.

‘‘Sometimes that attention can be counterproductive because people can become paranoid and defensive.

‘‘The really important message that the heads of both the church and the college are giving to people is that their faith teaches them to be people of peace, not people of anger or revenge.

‘‘I know from my close friends within the muslim community, they say exactly the same thing. ‘If you don’t understand your faith come to us, we will guide you’.

‘‘That has been the predominant message to make sure everyone feels safe and they work towards peace.’’

A school liaison officer from Rosehill Local Area Command visited the college this morning to inform and reassure students.

Mr Wakim said the officer’s brief speech was met with applause.

Police also attended mass at Our Lady of Lebanon Church, next to the college, last night as a precautionary measure.

‘‘There was no repeat incident but such verbal threats will always be taken seriously,’’ Mr Wakim said.

‘‘It gave people a great sense of comfort, peace and safety.

‘‘It’s important that whoever is behind this incident understands that they might have thrown a stone to create ripples [but] they’ve failed.

‘‘People aren’t panicking. They’re still sending their children to school, they still go to church to pray.’’

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