Indian sports club helps diffuse racial tension
Friday, September 24, 2010, 5:53 pm | Reported by Clare Hunter
The Indian Sihk community celebrates as new sporting clubs flock to a successful cultural centre Indoz, in Inala, Brisbane that aims to bring Indians and Australians together, through sport.
A new soccer club and players have been added to the Indoz centre and are fast helping it become a vivacious cultural hub for sports-mad locals in South Brisbane.
Raj Soumel, soccer coordinator for Indoz, is in the process of getting the new soccer team, aptly named Indoz United, into the local league and says sports are a great way to get involved in the Aussie way of life.
“If we can connect on the field through a sport with Aussies, it’s great, and then we can share our cultural differences around too,” Mr Soumel said.
However the club is not strictly just a sports facility.
Indoz, which combines cultural aspects of the Indian community such as food, worship and sports, could help to mediate any racial tension south Brisbane, between Indian and white communities.
The centre has regular welfare programs, complete with in-house counselling and Police education talks.
Peter Sarai, Indoz President, says the centre aims to help Indians integrate into an Australian lifestyle which may help diffuse any existing racial tension in the South Brisbane area.
“If we can educate new immigrants on what to expect here then we can take some of the pressure off society and the police,” Mr Sarai said.
Parth Raval, President of Griffith University Indian Student Association, says that the Indoz Centre is great for Indian students, who may have felt isolated in the wake of racial attacks in Melbourne and more recently, Brisbane, this year.
“The Queensland Police Service contributed by giving safety talks to the people, which has been really helpful,” Mr Raval said.
Earlier this year there were two attacks on Indian students in the area which left the Indian community feeling vulnerable and isolated, although the Queensland Police maintain that the attacks were not racially motivated.
Mr Raval said that the centre was foremost a popular social hub for young people, especially the students he interacts with at Griffith University.
“There is a wonderful sports program and so it provides a great social networking centre for everyone.”
Peter Sarai says the centre is much more than just a drop-in centre for Indians though and is intent on getting the wider Brisbane community on board, to promote healthy relationships across the cultures.
“It’s a place where everyone in the Brisbane community can connect; it’s not just about Sihk kids…”
Indoz, which survives largely on donations of more than three million dollars, boasts a library, a small Sihk church, a community garden and well equipped sporting facilities.
Sergeant Jim Bellos, the Metropolitan South Region Cross Cultural Liaison Officer says that the centre is well on the way to becoming a great success in Brisbane.
“It’s unreal… it’s a terrific centre and it’s very well done, it’s going to be great for the community” Sergeant Bellos said.
The Indoz Sihk Community Centre is situated at 16 Rosemary Street, Inala, and is open for all to use. For information phone (+61) 7 3879 8880