25 September 2008

Another Islamic School, Another Protest Planned

I have always thought that Australia was a multicultural society, a tolerant society, a society who valued and respected hard work, a society that embraced diversity. Perhaps this is the eternal optimist in me, the part of me that always wants to see the best in people and places. Some might even be tempted to be cynical and suggest that I am in denial. A denial of how things really are.

I am proud to be Australian! Always have been and always will be. That does not mean I have to agree with what other Australians do and neither does it mean they speak on my behalf.

After the racially driven anti-Islamic school ruckus in Camden some months ago there is more trouble brewing, this time in Austral, a suburb within the Liverpool City Council area. Some might argue that the Camden decision was purely a zoning and environmental suitability issue and the fact that the development proposal was from the Quranic Society was irrelevant. The footage that played out on the TV and commentary in the media would suggest that religion had everything to do with the ultimate decision even though it might have been packaged some other way.

These tensions are about to be reignited as a company called ASFA has lodged a development proposal with the Liverpool City Council to build a joint primary school and high school facility to be known as Qaadari College. The student capacity is expected to be no more than 600 pupils. I am not sure that there are any requirements that you have to be a Muslim to enrol or that you have to agree to become a Muslim to enrol.

In comparison, I teach at a few universities in Indonesia, one of which was established by a Christian family and maintains a Christian philosophy. I have noticed some Muslim faces in the crowd, those wearing the Jilbab or Hijab, so the policy is clearly not one of exclusion or inclusion based on religion. So, if this were to be the case with Qaadari College would this make any difference? Would it make any difference if the development proposal was from a group wanting to build a 600 pupil college to be known as St Paul's College?

The residents near the proposed school say that it would not matter. There only concern is that a 600-pupil school will destroy the serenity they currently enjoy and upset the peacefulness of the area. I am guessing the peacefulness here is not some Zen Buddhist approach to life. Maybe the concern is that if it is a Muslim school then there are sure to be the obligatory call to prayer. So, maybe this is what will disturb the peace?

If this is true then so be it. However, even if it is true then the agenda is seemingly just about to be hijacked by those keen to promote and highlight the ills of a multicultural Australia and those that are keen to use such development applications to promote an anti-immigration platform and the value of maintaining an Anglo-Celtic-European-white heritage. If you want to check out the thought patterns of these individuals then register at australianidentity.net and have a read for yourself. You cannot get on without registering first.

There you will find these little pearls of wisdom:

"Multiculturalism means never having to go overseas to find an enemy."
- Anonymous

If this does not tell you what these people are about then you do not understand the subtlety of the sledge hammer. The above is the signature of someone known as Casapound. I do not know whether this is important but Casapound is a "Hero Member". I suppose the site sets out how one becomes a hero member but I have not gotten that far into the site to find out.

My guess is that those opposed to the development proposal will be organizing themselves through sites such as this one and others.
Is this the beginning of a return to the past, a reinventing of the White Australia policy, an immigration policy reliant on the color of your skin and not on your ability to contribute to the Australian community? If it is then this is a scary prospect.

My concern is that these proposals are not being considered on merit but rather on the basis or fear and intimidation. For me, fear and intimidation is not the Australian way, or at least it should not be in 2008.


I want my kids to grow up in an Australia that is tolerant of the great diversity that we have.

These are things for me to ponder.

Postscript...

You do not have to register to browse on the Australian Identity site. I did have to register to leave a comment.

16 comments:

Katadia said...

"Is this the beginning of a return to the past, a reinventing of the White Australia policy, an immigration policy reliant on the color of your skin and not on your ability to contribute to the Australian community?"

Hmm, the data suggest otherwise.
-Ethnic diversity is continuing judging by the time-series trend of population by ancestry since 1960s.
- Immigration program continues to be a main source of population growth. Australia's immigration program is (or was in early 2000s) larger than US, Canada and NZ}
- Australia also currently 'competes' with other countries to attract skilled migrants.

A White Australia policy does not make much economic sense (Doh..), but then again, I have only lived in Canberra, a place rarely featured in A Current Affair or Today Tonight. ;P

Rob Baiton said...

KD...

The data does indeed suggest otherwise hence the use of "is this the beginning". Maybe I am trying to highlight the fact that some elements of the community have already started to judge on criteria other than what the individual contributes to the broader community.

Perhaps if there is enough of the community that starts to feel that way will we see a reactive government policy that cuts back on migration or limits migration to certain individuals.

Just thinking out loud more than anything else.

Polar Bear said...

I don't think its about White Australia, or religion or even race. Its about a rapidly fragmenting country, where diferring ethno-religious groups have differing values.

We MUST determine a common set of behavioral values and implement them.

Rob Baiton said...

PB...

Perhaps it is not about a White Australia policy, perhaps it is not about religion or race. Perhaps it is about a rapidly fragmenting country with differing values. Perhaps there is a need to find "common ground" in terms of a generic set of values that all can follow.

I threw the White Australia Policy into the mix consciously. One of the ideas of the WAP was to prevent a situation of fragmentation and the introduction of value systems that were not similar to those of Australia at that time.

Just a thought...

Mr. Spotty said...

does anyone (here) really think the gov't have any business regulating values?

(PS: I'm locked out of google, so can't sign in, pardon anon commenting).

Polar Bear said...

Open minded non controversial comments here:

1. Changing something has to be for the better. Socially reengineering the culture of Australia for the hell of it isn’t such a good idea. Making it better is. I see a lot of comments about how awful a monoculture Australia is (or would be), but I don’t see a lot about what we gain from a fragmented multiculture. Apart from the ability to buy a good curry, kebab, dim sim or nasi goring. And I hardy think cuisine is a good enough reason.

2. The existing citizens have invested a lot into a nation. In fact most have invested everything and don’t hold dual citizenship. Suddenly they are told they are wrong, and they should accept change. They aren’t given a referendum on it. And its worth noting that all the low paid government jobs that keep the country running (Defence, fire service, police etc) are all white Australians. Migrants don’t want jobs like that. They all want to be doctors and lawyers….


3. I took a walk though Sydney CBD today, and I could count the number of Asians I saw on one hand. I am hardly anti Asian. I only have sex with them, seriously consider marry them, work with them, and have no problems whatsoever. But it should be a concern that the multicultural experiment here isn’t working. I don’t see Africans, I don’t see Arabs I don’t see Caucasians, I see a city that almost completely comprises of Asians. (It does wonders for my sex life, but…)


What the hell, you will all accuse me of being a racist here…..

Polar Bear said...

Wooops - error in my last comment.

Should read "I took a walk though Sydney CBD today, and I could count the number of NON Asians I saw on one hand".

Rob Baiton said...

Mr. Spotty...

It is not all out anonymous commenting if you are using a pen name!

The government obviously thinks it has a role in regulating values. If it didn't then it wouldn't try, would it?

PB...

Open-minded and non-controversial? Really?

It is interesting that you break multiculturalism in Australia down to just food and being able to get a good curry or a good nasi goreng.

Really, there are no migrants or indigenous Australians in the Australian Defence Forces, or the Fire Brigade, or the Police?

Wanting to be a doctor or a lawyer is not always such a bad thing.

Anyways, to each their own. You have your views and other people have theirs.

Polar Bear said...

2:30 am, I just walked on George street, Sydney.

Some guy was waiting to cross the road. His GF wore a short skirt and looked hot.

A car pulled up at the lights. The occupants made comments about the girl. The BF objected.

Three Middle Eastern looking guys leapt out of the car and knifed the guy in front of my eyes.
I saw the girl in a short part dress cradling her Bf in her arms, his blood all over her.

Beirut comes to Sydney. you can call it multiculturalism.

I hope the guy survives...

Rob Baiton said...

PB...

I am guessing that the SMH are a little slow on getting this piece up and running on their online edition this early on a Sunday morning.

I will look out for it during the day. I might try an write something a little more substantive on multiculturalism (not that I am an authority or anything -- personal musing only).

Anonymous said...

Rob, it appears that "Casapound" has replied to your post:

Someone doesn't like us....

(By the way, you can browse topics at Australian Identity forums without registering.)

Polar Bear said...

Before anyone even thinks it, that isnt me at Casapound.

They also raise the question: What exactly do we get as a benefit of multicuturalism (other than diversity of food)?

Arabic law and order (gun battles in Lakemba)?

Chinese OH&S (tained milk, lead childrens toys etc)

Thai visitors (sex slaves in brothels all over Sydney).

John C. said...

Polar Bear,

I personally find that the most toxic effect of multiculturalism has been the emergence of identity politics and ethnic voting blocs.

For instance, during the last federal election, Chinese-born Labor supporters in Bennelong were urging their fellow Chinese to "Vote for Maxine! It's good for Asian people!"

Lee Kwan Yew summed it up well:

In multiracial societies, you don't vote in accordance with your economic interests and social interests, you vote in accordance with race and religion.

In other words, permanent polarization along racial lines.

This is the divided future that Australia faces. White Australians need to wake up to this reality, otherwise their group interests will be trampled by those ethnic/racial groups already playing the game of identity politics.

Rob Baiton said...

Anonymous...

So it does and I have replied over there.

PB...

These are all issues that need to be addressed. My point more than anything else is that burying our collective heads in the sand, and in many ways this is what political correctness is, leaves us exposed to more problems.

We need vigorous and open debate on these issues (hopefully civil) in order that we move forward.

John C...

Yes, identity politics and ethnic voting blocks are real. Lew Kwan Yew should know about these things and does.

Polar Bear said...

On the other hand, I once had a girlfriend in floods of tears because someone had shouted “Asians Out” and thrown his shoe at her in a Sydney Bar.

The shoe hurt her face, but the real pain was the humiliation in a crowded bar. Had I had been there I would have glassed the bastard to remind him of good manners.

The problem is the social engineers and politicians who stifle discussion on the subject, leaving people with only a shoe to throw.

Rob Baiton said...

PB...

Since when has glassing been considered a legitimate way of reminding some one of good manners?

Just asking!