ACT News

Student gets on his bike to fight faith discrimination

Devraj Grewal may be only 12 years old but he has big ideas about uniting communities of various faiths.

The Year 6 Red Hill Primary school student has met leaders of seven denominations across Canberra and arranged to drop in for prayers on Sunday, November 30 as part of his 50-kilometre Ride for Unity with his dad.

Like son like father: Devraj Grewal, 12, has got his father Vickram Grewal into cycling.
Like son like father: Devraj Grewal, 12, has got his father Vickram Grewal into cycling. Photo: Matt Bedford

"I just want to stop people treating others badly," he said.

A recent school research project into the Islamic State terrorist atrocities spurred on the idea to help stop all Muslims being tarred with the same brush.

"Islam is the second biggest religion," said Devraj, who comes from a multi-faith background.

"There are a small minority of people that call themselves Muslims with ISIS. 

"But it's not right to hate Muslims because they have nothing to do with it."

The ACT Scout said at each stop a prayer would be led by leaders of the Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Baha'I and Baptist congregations on the theme of harmony and fighting discrimination.

"Most of the religious leaders were encouraging," Devraj said.

"I think they liked the idea of unity."

Devraj's mother Marianne said she was proud her son had the initiative to put his ideas into action and tackle a prickly political issue on his own terms.  

"He has thought of this all himself," she said. "We are just very proud of him."

Vickram, Devraj's father, said he had dreamt his son would mirror his love of cricket, but he has taken on his son's passion for cycling.

"He says he wants to ride in Le Tour de France," Mr Grewal said. "He loves it so much he has given up playing soccer."

The duo hope people across the ACT will join their ride.

It starts at 7am at the Canberra Islamic Centre in Monash and will return after a 50km, seven-stop loop back at the site for closing prayers.

For details see facebook.com/rideforunity