Resistance in Canberra: "Christian fundamentalist group" takes mosque fight to court

An artist's impression of the mosque proposed for Gungahlin.An artist’s impression of the mosque proposed for Gungahlin. Photo: Supplied

The group calling itself the Concerned Citizens of Canberra has taken its fight over the proposed Gungahlin mosque to the ACT Supreme Court.

The group delivered thousands of flyers to Gungahlin homes in June, urging residents to oppose the mosque because of its ”social impact”, ”public interest” and concerns about traffic and noise.

The public notification period for the development closed on July 6, with the ACT Planning and Land Authority receiving more than 50 submissions.

The Concerned Citizens of Canberra asked for the window to be reopened but were knocked back on August 6.

They have now filed papers in the ACT Supreme Court saying the refusal was ”likely to result in a denial of natural justice”.

They claim the planning authority’s decision not to extend the comment period was an ”improper exercise” of their power. The group has waged a concerted campaign against the mosque.

The secretive participants in the campaign consistently told media and government that they were concerned with local planning issues, including traffic and noise.

But The Canberra Times revealed in June that Irwin Ross, the group’s spokesman, was a Christian fundamentalist activist who lived at least 15 kilometres from the proposed Valley Avenue site.

Good heavens! A “Christian fundamentalist activist “- what’s the world coming to! 

Documents filed in the Supreme Court identify Mr Ross as the group’s public officer.

Mr Ross describes himself as a pastor with Olive Tree Ministries who hosts fortnightly meetings at a prayer house in Yarralumla.

Associates of the Higgins resident have said he is known in Canberra’s Christian community for his stridently pro-Israel views.

The statement of claim filed with the court was supported by affidavits from Mr Ross and Jill Ross, but these were not made available to The Canberra Times yesterday.

The ACT Government Solicitor’s Office has flagged its intention to respond to the claim.

But it queried whether the Concerned Citizens group was actually a legal person – an individual or corporation – and competent to launch legal proceedings.

The court yesterday gave the group permission to resubmit its claim in light of its recent incorporation, which the ACT Office of Regulatory Services website dates to July 27 this year. The matter is due back in court in October. The case comes as the ACT Government prepares to introduce changes to the territory’s Discrimination Act in response to the anti-mosque campaign.

The bill, to be tabled by Attorney-General Simon Corbell in the Legislative Assembly next week, will add religion to the list of vilification offences in the ACT.

A Human Rights Commission review of the flyer recommended the territory’s Discrimination Act be reformed to include better provisions for discrimination against religious groups.

 Unfortunatley,  Louis Andrews and Lisa Cox from the Cranberry Times won’t tell us how yet another attack against freedom of speech will prevent  “discrimination against religious groups”- they are simply too dumb and ignorant to understand what’s at stake here.

Read more:

4 thoughts on “Resistance in Canberra: "Christian fundamentalist group" takes mosque fight to court”

  1. @James Boom, don’t forget this is also gerrymandering at it’s best.

    Buying the Muslims vote and with more boat people coming in from Muslim countries, more votes for Labour/Green.

  2. Folks,
    Other labour politicians are also pushing for the mosque against the wishes of the community. I ask you all to subject the ALP membership in Canberra to the closest possible scrunity within the framework of the law – because they are dirty!!

  3. Oh goodie, more dumb and useless “religious vilification” laws..they didnt work in Victoria after the law was enacted when within weeks it was used by the Islamic Council Of Victoria in an attempt to shut up two ex muslim converts to Christianity ..After tying up the courts for years the matter went to the High Court of the land , the law was rescinded and” religious ” vilification removed from the Vilification Law .
    Now, what we need is an ACT resident to file a lawsuit against Islamic Councils who preach from the Quran such religious vilification as a muslims duty to kill christians, crucify them, behead them, or forcefully convert them, also RACIAL vilification under the same act, against people who are jews…lets see them enact the law when it comes to muslims breaking it..Islam is vilification against all who do not embrace Islam, it is racist,divisive and hate speech to boot…

Comments are closed.