Japanese group lodging 18C discrimination case against church's war memorial

The memorial to 'comfort women' at the Ashfield Uniting Church. Source: YouTube

Somedays reading the news you’d think the world has gone politically correct mad!

There’s been a lot of furore over section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, particularly over the words “offend” and “insult”.

During the past year there have been some notable cases where 18C has been claimed, including the QUT students who used an Indigenous only computer lab and a cartoonist taking action against an Aboriginal MP for her “middle aged white men” comments.

Now it’s being used again, and this time a Japanese community is using 18C to lodge a discrimination case against a church’s war memorial.

You might be wondering how a war memorial could possibly be deemed racist?

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Well, according to the Australia-Japan Community Network, the Ashfield Uniting Church’s memorial to World War II sex slaves (comfort women) is “a hurtful historical symbol”.

Australia-Japan Community Network president Tetsuhide Yamaoka told the ABC the group weren’t making the complaint to be political.

“We are doing this only responding to the concerns raised by local mothers and fathers — the parents,” he said.

“This hurtful historical symbol is detrimental to the local community and will only result in generating offence and racial hate.

“We have seen many negative things happening overseas and start happening in Australia in relation to this ‘comfort women’ thing because it’s not a pure commemoration as such, it’s highly politically motivated.”

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So, what are comfort women?

Well, according to the memorial ‘Comfort Women’  “were forced into sexual slavery by the military of the government of imperial Japan”.

Apparently as many as 200,000 Korean and Chinese women were forced into sexual slavery as ‘comfort women’ during World War II.

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If you think the Japanese community’s complaint is ridiculous, you’re not alone.

The Ashfield Uniting Church’s Reverend Bill Crews has described the complaint as “outrageous”.

“I just find it outrageous … bring it on,” he told the ABC.

“It’s not against the Japanese people, it’s for the women who suffered in war.

“To find that people are saddened by it really saddens me because it’s more about hope, it’s more about saying, ‘let’s build a better world where things like this don’t happen and never happen again’.”

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This news has ignited more debate about 18C, with opponents arguing cases such as this are the exact reason section 18C is under review.

What do you think about this? Is it just another case of political correctness gone mad?