On 14 October 2015, The Multicultural Communities Council of NSW and the Parramatta Police represented by Superintendent Wayne Cox held a solemn candle light vigil to pay our last respect for the late Curtis Cheng, who was brutally murder as he walked out of the Police Headquarters building in Charles Street, Parramatta.
Present at the candle light vigil were Lord Mayor of Parramatta City Lord Mayor Clr Paul Garrard & Deputy Mayor Clr Bakous Makari, Geoff Lee MP, State member for Parramatta, Julie Owens MP Federal for Parramatta, Julia Finn MP Granville, Vic Alhadeff CEO NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, and representatives from CALD communities.
In welcoming the participants present, the Chair of MCC NSW Dr Tony Pun said “Most of us do not know Curtis Cheng, but as he died, he became a symbol of our resolve to make our community, our society and our country, more secure and safe for all of us”
He added “Many communities are present here this evening as a show of solidarity and also to add to their voice to combat mindless killing of innocent people by those who had been radicalised to commit murder in public. I also called it terrorism, because it put terror in my mind and spirit”.
Dr Pun also acknowledged the presence of the Chinese Australian community who come this evening to farewell one of their sons.
There is a consensus of those present that the community should unite together and petition the NSW Government to review section 20D of the Anti-Discrimination Act and to ensure that people who preach or instigate violence, will be prosecuted. At the moment, the law as it stands, is ineffective. In this, we gratefully acknowledged the presence of Vic Alhadeff CEO, NSW Jewish Board of Deputies who added a strong voice to our common goal.
How many Curtis Chengs got to die before the law can protect the innocent from being murdered in cold blood? The time to change the law is now.
As MCC NSW, together with other community organisations will send a strong message to the State Government, that a stronger law is needed to combat extremism and for the safety and well-being of all Australian.
On behalf of the community, MCC NSW wishes to express their sincere condolences to the Cheng Family, Alpha, Zilvia and Selian Cheng for the loss of their loved one, and to the Parramatta Police for the loss of a colleague.
The dignitaries took turns to address the gathering from various communities that had come together to pay their respects. Council board member and organiser Amarinder Bajwa said those gathered came from a range of ethnic backgrounds including Chinese, Indian, Sikh and Pakistan Australia Association.
“We wanted to show our solidarity and support for not only the police but also the family of Mr Curtis Cheng,” he said.
Mr Bajwa said it was unfortunate that such a young life was lost in the incident because of radicalisation and that he wanted to show his support for police in their efforts to tackle the issue.