There is evidence to suggest that opposition to the establishment of Muslim institutions in Australia is being actively opposed by a handful of anti-Islam fringe groups spreading Islamophobia in the mainstream community.
Last Saturday members of the United Patriotic Front staged a violent protest in Bendigo, Victoria against the construction of its first Mosque in the city.
This was in spite of approval for the Mosque given by Bendigo Council mid last year after a bitterly contested campaign by those opposed to the Mosque.
An appeal against the Council’s decision, lodged with the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, was rejected by the Tribunal on 3 August this year, giving the green light for the construction of the Mosque.
There is a regular pattern where anti-Islam elements from outside the local area initiate campaigns in order to oppose establishment of Muslim community institutions spreading fearmongering amongst residents by vilifying Islam and demonizing Muslims. Key words like Sharia, Halal, Jihad, Islamists, Arabs, Lebanese, terrorists are frequently used to create suspicion.
Once they fail in their campaign to sway public opinion and local councils against the projects, they take the matter through various court systems thus delaying the projects for years.
While the Australian justice system uphold the rights to establish community institutions for all Australians including Muslims, these extremist groups then resort to intimidation and violence in order to stop these project from completion.
Another campaign against the establishment of a mosque was started in Penrith last year that failed to sway the local council and finally approval was given for its construction.
Similar has been a classic case against the development of Malek Fahd’s new campus at Hoxton Park in south-west Sydney that has been going on through various courts for the last five years spearheaded by Hoxton Park Residents Action Group Inc (HPRAG).
Last month on 7 August the Land & Environment Court of NSW rejected the application by HPRAG to stop the development of the School and ordered them to pay the costs of the proceedings. The HPRAG was given till 21 August to change the costs judgment.
Campaign against Malek Fahd Hoxton Park Campus
Mr Amjad Mehboob, who played a vital role in the establishment of AFIC Schools in general and Malek Fahd School in particular and is currently Incharge of Projects and Facilities
Development, MFIS, has written the following report in relation to the Campaign against Malek Fahd Hoxton Park Campus:
Hoxton Park Residents Action Group Inc (HPRAG) was set up in 2009 by a few residents to oppose the development of Malek Fahd’s new campus at Hoxton Park in South-west Sydney. HPRAG vigorously opposed the application but it was subsequently approved by the Liverpool City Council (LCC) on 30 June 2009.
HPRAG took the matter to the Land and Environment Court (LEC) and lost on the grounds that they did not lodge objections within the specified time.
HPRAG however appealed against the LEC decision in the Supreme Court (SC) which upheld the appeal on the grounds that LCC had not followed the letter of the law when advertising the school development.
The SC sent the matter back to the LEC which decided to put a stop order on the construction and other works at the school site. The LEC however ruled that the school operating in demountable buildings would continue but would not be allowed to enrol further students. The LEC also allowed the school to lodge a fresh Development Application. This was done and a new DA was approved on 14 March 2013 and construction on the project recommenced on 30 September 2013.
However, this was not the end of the problem for the new school. HPRAG commenced proceedings in the LEC to challenge the new approved DA.
The Residents Group in Liverpool Sydney established in 2009 has been objecting to Malek Fahd Islamic School’s Hoxton Park Campus ever since.
The Group is made up of a few individuals from one family and does not have widespread resident support. Meetings called by the Group have attracted fewer than half a dozen persons.
The local and mainstream media have identified links of this group with One Nation Party, the Q Society, the Australian Defence League and other fringe anti-Islam groups.
The group’s solicitor has had involvement with the group vying to stop the Bendigo Mosque in Victoria and with the challenges to stop the Camden Islamic School and Centre in NSW. The group’s president has stood as a One Nation candidate in the Liverpool Council elections.
The Q Society was founded in 2010 in Melbourne and has as one of its main platforms to educate the Australian people about Islam. The group openly claims to be “Islam-critical” and are avowed opponents of sharia law.
They have also published a book “Getting Through: How To Talk To Non Muslims About The Disturbing Nature of Islam” and have produced a YouTube video ““How to stop a mosque”. The Society has all the hall marks of a secret society with few public faces.
HPRAG has been suing the Liverpool Council for illegally approving the school development and question the Council’s powers to grant development approvals under the Australian Constitution.
They have also sued the State and Federal Governments for funding “religious based Islamic schools”. Defendants are Malek Fahd, AFIC, Liverpool Council, NSW State and Commonwealth Governments.
The proceedings have been to the Land & Environment Court, the Supreme Court and the High Court and are still ongoing, costing hundreds of thousands to the parties for the past six years. People have always wondered how they were being funded!