12 December 2008

Islamic Schools -- A Victory for Common Sense?

The NSW Land and Environment Court has approved a development application to build an Islamic School in the Sydney suburb of Bass Hill. The Bankstown Council which had the authority to approve the application declined to do so. The reasoning for the failure to garner approval was allegedly traffic and noise concerns. Each of the concerns was listed in some 1800 objections that were lodged opposing the development. The failure to approve the development project also led to the appeal to the Land and Environment Court.

Although there were a considerable number of objections, it must be noted that there was also considerable support for the school with some 600 statements of support being lodged with the Council.

The fact that it is to be an Islamic School was never the officially stated reason for the rejection. However, the lawyer representing the developers pulled no punches in suggesting that this anti-Muslim sentiment was a strong undercurrent to the desire to thwart and ultimately reject the development application. This was supposedly supported by the idea that the majority of the 1800 objections were photocopied pro-forma objections that really only required objectors to fill in the blanks.

The Senior Commissioner of the Land and Environment Court wondered in his judgment whether there would have been the same number of objections had the school development application been lodged by an Anglican Church consortium looking to develop a similar size school.

Ultimately, the Land and Environment Court has approved the development application and ordered some minor changes to be made to allow for some additional landscaping to be included on the site.

It is expected that with the approval to develop now in place that the school will be built quickly.

I have written on this before and you can find it here.


IftikharA said...

The debate over the trajectory of the western sociopolitical system and its strained relations with Islam is the most pivotal of our time. Muslims are in one of the most difficult phases of their history when malicious attacks including allegation of terrorism are being made on Islam and Muslims all over the world. The malicious campaign against Muslims is politically motivated. The world is obsessed by Islam. Anti-terror measures are ruining lives of Muslim youths. If you go around arresting young Muslims, you are going to find that you are going to ostracise this community. Young Muslims don’t need to be ostracized, they need to be engaged. According to the Arch Bishop, Rowan Williams, acceptance of some facets of Sharia not only “seems unavoidable”, but could actually improve social cohesion. Muslims should be able to choose to have marital or financial matters dealt with in a Sharia Court. Such courts should therefore be incorporated into the British legal system as a constructive accommodation with Islam. Schools are being asked to help “win hearts and minds” in the battle against violent extremists on both sides. British born Imams should go into schools to supplement the teaching of RE, PSHE and Citizenship so that all pupils can learn about the Holy Quran and Islam in the context of a multicultural society. OFSTED must make sure that their services should be fully utilised by the schools, otherwise, it will be waste of public money.

The British Establishment is wrong to assert that Imams and Masajid have been radicalising Muslim youths. The roots of extremism are in the British society and schools where institutional racism is at its peak. The racism within schools has got little media coverage. The school attended by 7/7 bombers in a part of Leeds known for its history of racial tension between British Asians and native Brits. Leeds council was so worried about the violence that it had to call in Foundation for Peace, a government funded peacekeepers who were used to keep Catholics and Protestants from killing one another in Northern Ireland. True message of Islam should be promoted because British media and society have always portrayed Islam in a negative way since Crusades and the siege of Vienna in 1683. School Curriculum should be used to convey a deeper understanding of Islamic faith, history and culture. Prison is not the answer of those who are vulnerable to, or are being drawn into violent extremism unless they have clearly committed an offence.

The greatest challenge to humanity is learning to live in a crowded and interconnected world that is creating unprecedented pressures on human society. The rector of Oxford’s largest Anglican Churches has called a Muslim call to prayers from the main Masjid “un-English”. This is a clear case of intolerance. Gibraltar is a British colony. Five Pound currency note has a queen image on one side and on the other side there is an image of the Muslim Conqueror with a sword in his hand. There is more hatred of Muslims seduced by the Western media, education system and church leaders like Bishop Nazir Ali. Catholic nuns have worn veils for centuries, with no public controversies arising. There is no reason why any girl’s school uniform can not now be modified to include a veil. Wearing a veil to school or to work must be a matter of choice for all.
Iftikhar Ahmad

Rob Baiton said...


Thanks for dropping by and leaving a really long comment.

Once I have read it, I will respond in a little more detail.


schmerly said...


I don’t know who you are but you need to drop the rhetoric and get your facts straight.
The terrorist attacks in various parts of the world in last few years have been perpetrated by Moslem extremists, and that’s a fact! you say “Anti-terror measures are ruining lives of Muslim youths” these laws against terrorists also affect my life and I’m certainly not a Muslim terrorist, also why should Sharia law be “incorporated into the British legal system” after all this is Britain we’re talking about not some Arabic country, and if your so keen to have these laws go and live in country that already has them in place, such as Saudi Arabia, perhaps you could convince the Saudis to “incorporate” some British laws into their system! And as far as learning about the “the Holy Quran and Islam” isn’t it about time Moslem students in the UK learned about Christianity and the Bible, or would that be considered an insult to Islam?

Rob Baiton said...


I think the Iftikhar comment is one of those cut and paste viral comments that posts to any blog where a certain key word is found.

When you read the comment it is obvious that there is no direct response to the issues raised in the Land and Environment Court in Australia and Islam / Muslim issues in Australia. It is pretty much all about the UK.

So, I just read and move on.

schmerly said...


Cheers, on a lighter note how's are little lad doing?

Rob Baiton said...


On a lighter note. The little fella is doing fine. He is not a big crier which is great. However, he seems to be a bit of a night owl and that keeps me up to all hours of the morn.

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