* The leftist media has gone into a lunatic frenzy to smear Â Camden residents as hicks, racists, rednecks, Islamophobes, Nazis and ‘far rightÂ extremists’, in spite of the fact that residents in this Australian country town areÂ unanimousÂ against having a Muhammedan madrassah planted in their midst.
May 24, 2008 12:00am
CAMDEN residents have claimed victory over an Islamic school proposed for the middle of their rural hamlet.
Camden Council has recommended the application for a 1200-student school be rejected when councillors meet to decide its fate next week.
* Â Should the school be prohibited? Tell us in our Â comments below.
But the victory could be short-lived, with the school’s backers keeping the door open for a challenge in the Land and Environment Court.
“It is disappointing but I will have to meet with my colleagues and see what I can come up with,” Quranic Society spokesman Issam Obeid said.
“But we’re not millionaires, three people have already mortgaged their houses to buy the land.
“Hopefully the council approves the school next week because it is for all Australians, not just Muslims.”
The council is expecting so many people at next Tuesday night’s council meeting it has moved it into a bigger hall and hired private security.
Camden Mayor Chris Patterson said he was disappointed some people had tried to turn the school into a debate about religion and nationalism.
“I think there’s been a lot of out of town influences that have tried to make it both of those issues,” he said.
“There have been people and groups that have tried to make it an issue that it is not.”
Local courier driver Gary Cornish said that the issue was never about the religion of the school but whether the community was big enough to house it. “My only concern was the traffic,” Mr Cornish said.
For decades, the campus had prayer rooms for Muslim students, including separate rooms for males and females. In 2005 Muslim students pointed out that the existing rooms were too small and unsafe to use. In 2006/07, RMIT approved a new proposal to design and build a replacement Muslim prayer room.
On March 18 word broke out that RMIT had broken its promise to build a bigger Muslim prayer room and had instead decided to make it a multi-faith spiritual centre. It was only at the first Student Services Religious Advisory Committee meeting that students heard of this intention. Ironically, advertising brochures for international students are still being published at RMIT promoting the new “Muslim Prayer Room”.