As I posted earlier, it seems that there are others that are also of the belief that the ability of the Camden Council to reject the proposal based on traffic concerns seemed all too convenient and a little too political.
Since the decision last night a huge wooden crucifix has been erected on the site and a passage from the Bible affixed to it that reads:
"David and Goliath. The battle is won. This is the King of Kings Land. Prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. (Eph 6:18)."
Let me play Devil's Advocate here for a bit and raise a few questions.
Some of the interviews with local residents reflected that the happiness that they felt with the rejection of the development proposal had nothing to do with planning issues but an intense desire not to have Muslims in the community because they would build Mosques, ghetto-ize Camden, and make Camden a hot bed of fundamentalist Islamic activity.
1. Is Australia truly a multicultural nation or is that just lip service to an ideal?
2. Isn't it true that racism is alive and well in Australian small towns with limited numbers of migrants?
3. Would this planning / development proposal been rejected if the school was to be an Anglican, Catholic, Protestant, or Jewish school?
4. Isn't it true that schools have always been built in rural areas and usually on farm land converted for that purpose?
There are probably a thousand other questions I could ask but these four will suffice for now.
I am certain that the Quranic Society will appeal this decision to the Land and Environment Court and I think they have a good chance of winning. It seems the objections on which the Council based its decision play more to political expediency than good development sense.
There is also a history in the sense that the last time a similar case came before the Court where a development application was rejected by the Baulkham Hills Council for an Islamic Prayer Hall for reasons that it did not fit the community profile, the Council decision was overturned by the Court. The prayer hall has been built!
For Australia to really move forward and become a leader in community relations we have to escape this culture of fear and religious intolerance.