A lesson from the Chinese useful today

The discriminatory views expressed by some about the planned mosque are familiar to Chinese Association treasurer Anita Jack.

Despite being a fifth generation Chinese-Australian she is still occasionally told she shouldn't be here. She believes the problem is ignorance and that it can only be solved through education.

We can in fact be educated about this issue in our community by looking at the history of the Chinese.

Bendigo is so much the richer for the contribution of the Chinese.

Chinese workers operated under laws back in the 19th century which gave them less rights than their European-Australian counterparts. 

The mainstream population had no understanding of and little respect for Chinese religious practices. Drawings on display in the Chinese Museum done by European hands depict the Chinese with cruel, sinister faces and body language - a telling reflection of the suspicion and distrust with which the artist regarded them.

But these days Chinese traditions are celebrated on the streets at Easter and Bendigo's Chinese heritage is a source of pride and delight. Bendigo is so much the richer for the contribution of the Chinese. 

Surely we can learn from history and value our Muslim community in the same way. 

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