The Islamic Council of NSW and the leader of the Catholic Church of Australia, Cardinal George Pell have joined Sydney Anglicans in their disapproval of the ethics trial in NSW primary schools.

Cardinal Pell has spoken out against the ethics course, which he believes is undermining the work done by the thousands of volunteers teaching SRE in schools around Sydney.

"I do think that we are suffering a bit of a push to radically diminish what is one of the glories of the Sydney Church,” he told a Sydney book launch.

On a recent episode of the SBS program, Insight, which aired May 25, parents, children and representatives of different religious organisations, voiced their opinions about the classes, touted as an option for children not attending Special Religious Education (SRE).

Mazen Fahme from the Islamic Council of NSW, and Ann Maree Whenman, a representative of the Australian Catholic Church, shared their organisations’ qualms with the course.

"We don't have a problem with ethics in general. Our concern is the process in which it was implemented. The other issue we have with ethics as well is that it does lack the substance of religion" another issue we have is that who is to say what ethics are common right now? Ethics can evolve over time," Fahme said.

"We don't think that offering ethics, at that time [during SRE classes], is fair and just to the other children who choose to do SRE. They're offering something in competition with SRE and we don't think that's fair" " Whenman said.

The Bishop of North Sydney, Glenn Davies, represented Sydney Anglicans. He joined the other religious organisations in their criticisms of the ethics course.

"They say it's an inquiry in to the philosophy, understanding the schemes and different ways of looking at ethics, but it's not ethical instruction per se, so you're not teaching right from wrong for the children, I would have thought many parents would want their children to understand right and wrong," he said.


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