Backlash against Muslim enclaves
GOVERNMENT compliance with demands for Muslim schools, prayer rooms, segregated swimming pools and halal food is a dangerous trend, a federal multicultural inquiry has been told.
The joint parliamentary committee on migration said in its final report that it had received many submissions claiming multiculturalism was laying the foundations for ethnic separatism amid rising Islamic immigration.
“References were made to Muslim ‘enclaves’ in Sydney and Melbourne, and the riots in Cronulla in 2005, to suggest a lack of willingness on the part of Muslims to embrace the Australian lifestyle, values and behaviours,” it said.
Several Melbourne councils, including Monash, Casey and Greater Dandenong, hold separate sessions for women at public pools after requests by Muslim groups.
Monash even paid $66,000 for special curtains to ensure Muslim women’s privacy during the sessions.
Last year, the AFL introduced multi-faith prayer rooms at the MCG and Etihad after lobbying by Muslim player Bachar Houli.
Former premier and Hawthorn president Jeff Kennett described it as “political correctness gone mad”.
Several planning disputes involving plans for mosques and Islamic schools are before councils and VCAT.
Many submissions claimed demands to conform to Islamic cultural practices were “the first step towards calls for … Sharia law”.
“Government compliance with demands … under the banner of respect for diversity was thus cited as a dangerous trend,” the report said.
The committee didn’t support legal pluralism and recommended the Federal Government promote the message multiculturalism entailed respect for cultural diversity and commitment to Australian laws and values.