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letter to Guardian News "demonisation of Muslims is a simplistic approach" - close offshore detention 1 Sep 2016

The point of my argument is that the demonisation of Muslims is a simplistic response to a complicated issue. The vast majority of Muslims are peaceful and hard working and, well, just like anybody else.

Nobody is proposing an open door policy to refugees. But we are a rich nation and can certainly accept more than we currently do without causing problems. If we want to lessen the likelihood of people using a dangerous sea journey it would make sense to provide safer alternate channels. There is no “right” channel for people fleeing the persecution and trauma of war and civil unrest.

As for increased crime, the statistics show that the crime rate among refugees is lower than the national average. That being the case, if you want to live in a safer community choose one with more refugees!

The main point to stress is that it is only people who arrive by boat that are subjected to indefinite mandatory detention, even though they have committed no crime. Even if they are children! This practice is cruel and is in violation of international agreements that we have signed. It is also extremely expensive.

Cheaper options that respect the dignity and safety of vulnerable asylum seekers do exist. We should explore and enable these options and close the disgraceful concentration camps in Manus Island and Nauru. We should allow the people from these camps to be processed in Australia before more damage is inflicted upon them.


Peter Sobey

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