Brisbane Catholics are being asked to help 16 Muslim men who have fled persecution in Afghanistan and have been housed temporarily at Banyo Seminary.
The men, mostly in their 20s, are part of a group of 41 people who came to Australia by boat. They arrived in Brisbane from a West Australian detention centre three weeks ago.
They have been released from the centre on temporary protection visas.
Brisbane archdiocesan Centre for Multicultural Pastoral Care (CMPC) co-ordinator Jose Zepada said this was a special category of visa which allows them to stay in Australia for a limit of three years.
The refugees were persecuted by Afghanistan’s Sunni Muslim majority because they are Shi’ah Muslims and also belong to an ethnic minority.
“The 41 were desperate to find a country to protect them and paid smugglers to get them to Australia,” Mr Zepeda said.
He said the men had three major concerns – jobs, accommodation and English classes. But the men also needed friendship and hospitality.
The CMPC is hoping to organise with other community bodies a public forum to create awareness of the plight of people like these Ð to expose the fallacies about them, informing the public of the facts, Mr Zepeda said.
The forum will also be asked to call on the Federal Government to treat these people in a humanitarian way.