Well, so much for Sydney’s second airport. There’s no way the project can proceed now, following the Land and Environment Court’s decision to block construction of a Bondi synagogue on the grounds it may attract terrorists.
Islamic extremists are notoriously fond of attacking airports. Airports and aircraft are basically at the top of any serious terrorist’s target list. Any consistent view from the Land and Environment Court would have Sydney’s planned second airport banned on obvious safety grounds.
The court’s decision came in response to an appeal from Sydney’s Jewish community, which previously had its Bondi synagogue knocked back by Waverley Council because it presented too great a security risk for users and local residents.
Waverley Council declared that the application to build a synagogue “raises concerns as to the safety and security of future users of the Synagogue, nearby residents, motorists and pedestrians in Wellington Street.” Furthermore, “the physical measures proposed to deal with the identified threats will have an unacceptable impact on the streetscape and adjoining properties.”
It’s not that the people attending the synagogue would have posed any kind of threat. Not at all. They’re as peaceful as can be. It’s that certain other people would be drawn to destroy the synagogue, and possibly take out a few non-Jews in the process.
A reasonable person might conclude, then, that the problem involved not the synagogue but those intent on blowing up or otherwise attacking the place. Perhaps it might be an idea to deal with them instead, since they – not the synagogue and not Jewish people – are the source of any potential violence.
But we’ve gone the other way, which opens up a whole new range of legislative and social issues. Now that we’re taking into account the attitudes of Islamist maniacs when it comes to urban design and planning, similar steps are clearly required in other areas.
This page, for example, features an illustration. Terrorists are not especially fond of drawings, which is the reason why French magazine Charlie Hebdofound itself with a sudden surplus of staff parking places in January 2015. The Walkley Awards recently canned its annual prize for foreign reporting. Why does it still present an award for cartoonists? Surely this is a terror incitement.
(Then again, Walkley-level cartoonists are generally timid types who have pre-emptively decided, in the craven manner of the Land and Environment Court, to avoid any unpleasantness. the Guardian’s Andrew Marlton once explained: “I don’t depict Muhammad because it’s probably racist and also I don’t get to put my family and my coworkers at risk of being firebombed.” Brave lad.)
Terrorists don’t much care for your modern musical styles, as 23 Ariana Grande fans discovered following a concert in Manchester last May. In 2015, 89 people attending an Eagles of Death Metal show in Paris were slaughtered by Islamic terrorists who likewise prefer alternative forms of entertainment.
Is it not therefore incumbent upon Australian radio stations to run a full risk assessment of their formats? Music is evidently out. Stand by for the next wave of classic FM content, featuring golden Koranic favourites from the sixth, seventh and eighth centuries. And don’t miss Holy Mo’s Sunni fun bus, running down infidels all summer long.
Coffee shops are a proven terrorist lure. So are police, army barracks, large sporting events, Mother’s Day, nightclubs (particularly gay nightclubs), trains, Sydney juice bars and chicken shops run by Shia Muslims, marathons, women enjoying a London evening, navy bases, Anzac Day, courts and the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne. Refusing to allow construction of a synagogue might be only the start of a very long banning process.
Meanwhile, what of mosques? Oppose mosque construction and you’ll be damned as a hateful redneck. “Mosques are part of the Australian suburban landscape. They have crucial roles to play in overcoming fears about Islam and supporting progressive values within Islam,” Charles Sturt University’s Sam Bowker argued in a 2016 piece published by the ABC.
“Those who oppose the building of mosques — such as Pauline Hanson, most recently — don’t recognise their potential to support Australian ideals and represent our shared history.”
To what “Australian ideals” and “shared history” might Bowker have been referring? In October 2015 teenager Farhad Jabar obtained a pistol at Parramatta Mosque before using the weapon to murder police accountant Curtis Cheng. Using Waverley Council and Land and Environment Court logic, however, the problem here isn’t the mosque. Rather, the problem is the target.
Imagine a council knocking back a mosque application for fears terrible bigots would throw pigs’ heads at it or deface the building with anti-Islamic graffiti. Quite correctly, rejection on those grounds will never happen. Society should not yield to violent idiots.
Yet a synagogue is blocked precisely because we’re scared of reprisals. It’s as ridiculous as it is cowardly.