Far-right Islamophobe tries to exploit Sydney hostage crisis as Australian Muslims face racist backlash

Ralph Cerminara stages publicity stuntRalph Cerminara, president of Australian Defence League, burst into an angry rant and had to be escorted away by police after an outburst near the Lindt Chocolat Cafe in central Sydney as the hostage crisis continued.

“Half the reason we’ve got this problem today is because of left wing bigots… These people may be murdered because of your left wing bigotry… It’s finally happened!” Cerminara shouted angrily before being taken away by police.

Cerminara’s flare-up was an ominous warning of the backlash the Muslim community could face when the siege is finally resolved. And a terrorism expert agreed, saying that racist attacks targeting Australia’s Muslim community are “quite likely”.

Ben Rich, a researcher into political violence at Monash University’s School of Social Sciences, said some Australian Muslims could face reprisal due to the incident in Sydney.

“I can’t say to what extent it’s going to be, but I’d say it’s quite likely,” Mr Rich said. He predicted that any violence would probably not be “organised by any particular political party” but was more likely to be “just a group of guys deciding ‘let’s go do something, let’s go attack someone’.”

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Islamic boarding school in Mareeba under cloud after anti-Muslim threats

Plans for an Islamic boarding school on the Tableland appear to have stalled, with the proposed school site at Mareeba back on the market. It comes as some opposing the $70 million development threaten to “destroy the place” if the project goes ahead.

A development application for the school, which was to be Australia’s first Standard Bearer’s Academy, is yet to be assessed by the Mareeba Shire Council. However the 40ha block of land at Tinaroo Creek Rd, where the academy was to be located, has this week been relisted for sale.

The facility aimed to cater for about 1200, Year 5 to Year 12 boys, from across Australia, along with a small contingent of international students.

The school was to have an Islamic focus but it was promoted as a multi-denominational campus, open to all faiths, including Christians and other religions, and students with no religious beliefs.

The Cairns Post understands developers have pulled the pin on the land deal due to a lack of support for the project from within the community. It is not known whether they plan to target another site.

It follows last weekend’s public meetings in Cairns and Mareeba where a group launched a campaign against the school, fearing it had potential to influence young people with “the Muslim agenda”.

A Facebook page administered by the convener of the meetings, contains comments from followers who have volunteered to “destroy this place if it go’s (sic) ahead”. A person has proposed to “bury a couple of pigs on the proposed site. They wont (sic) want it any more because its (sic) against their superstitions,’’ they wrote.

Estop Islamic School Mareeba chairman Alan Webb said if the school plan was axed, it was due to the “unbelievable and incredible co-operation of everybody in Mareeba”. He was surprised the threats on social media were published, saying they were “disappointing, yet understandable. That sort of anger, I can appreciate.’’

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New group formed to fight against Queensland Islamic school

STOP the $70m Islamic BOYS Boarding School

A public meeting yesterday was told it was time to start serious campaigning against the establishment of a $70 million, 1200 student Islamic school on the outskirts of Mareeba.

More than 140 residents resolved to call on the Mareeba Shire Council and the State Government to disallow the construction of the proposed Standard Bearers Academy on its 96 acre Tinaroo Creek Road property.

Although proponents of the SBA have described the school as “multi-denominational” members of the audience expressed concerns that the dominant theme of the curriculum would be Islamic views.

A committee was formed to spearhead the upcoming battle, which after the meeting, named the new body Estop Islamic School Mareeba (EISM).

Since the first public information meeting held by the Standard Bearers Academy two weeks ago a Townsville grandmother created a Facebook page, ‘STOP the $70m Islamic BOYS Boarding School’ that has gone viral.

Meeting convenor Kim Vuga said more than 4000 comments on the Facebook page “…are a clear indication of what a lot of Far North people are thinking.”

“We held a meeting in Cairns yesterday and 65 people turned up, which was great because we only expected about 20,” Mrs Vuga said. “Most people I have communicated with do not want this school because of its potential to influence young people in the north with the Muslim agenda.

“There are 340 mosques and prayer halls in Australia but the Muslim faith represents only about 2 per cent of the population. Already we have Halal food being served in the Aitkenvale State School tuckshop and head scarfs are also for sale. What is next? Free prayer mats?”

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New South Wales: Council gives green light to Islamic centre

Penrith anti-Muslim protest
Islamophobes protest in Penrith against the community centre (photo: Black Flag – Western Sydney Peoples Collective)

Protestors have again failed to sway Penrith councillors from stopping plans for an Islamic community centre from going ahead.

A rescission motion was brought before Penrith Council on Monday night to reject the approval granted to an Islamic ­centre in Kemps Creek on November 24 but it was defeated 10 votes to four. Councillors Marcus ­Cornish, Kevin Crameri, Maurice Girotto and Mark Davies moved the motion in their latest attempts to block the development, citing concerns around traffic, sewerage and public opposition to the development.

All these concerns were addressed in the report tendered to council with the recommendation that the development application be approved subject to special conditions.

Prior to the meeting local residents protesting against the community centre had to be kept separated by a strong police presence from Antifa (an anti-fascist group) protesters. One man was ejected from the public gallery after refusing to apologise for shouting abuse at the Mayor Ross Fowler and repeated the abuse as he left the council chamber.

The rescission motion marks the second time that councillors Marcus Cornish and Maurice Girrotto have tried to have Islamic developments overturned in the Kemps Creek area.

During general business an urgent motion was moved requesting Cr Marcus Cornish to retract his statements and apologise to Liverpool Council and the residents of Liverpool over his previous assertions that Penrith’s neighbour was beset with crime because of its high Islamic population.

Cr Cornish again refused to back away from his comments. “I hold to those comments and I represent the people of Penrith just as I always have,” Cr Cornish said. “Given the track record at Liverpool Council with their economic and social situation they shouldn’t be telling me what to do.”

A later motion was moved for the Penrith mayor to write to Liverpool Council outlining that Cr Cornish’s comments in no way reflect that of Penrith Council in general.

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Proposed mosque site in Sydney’s south-west attacked by vandals

Padstow mosque vandalism (1)

Vandals have caused an estimated $50,000 worth of damage to a proposed mosque site in Padstow in south-west Sydney. The 6,000 square metre industrial site on Enterprise Avenue has become the target of anti-Muslim groups as the factory has been peppered with anti-Islam and race hate stickers. The United Muslims of Australia (UMA) purchased the site in July this year in the hope of turning it into a mosque and multi-purpose community centre.

UMA estimated the damage will cost about $50,000 to repair due to severe damage to electrical systems. “The place has been ransacked, they’ve gone right through and ripped out all the electrical,” UMA operations officer Mohammad Kourouche said. “They’ve ripped out all the power, electricity and generators, they’ve taken the nuts and bolts out of everything and probably caused about $50,000 worth of damage.”

Shaykh Shady Alsuleiman from UMA said the incidents were disheartening. “Unfortunately we had a few incidents on that site, a break and enter, vandalism and anti-Islamic stickers stuck on the place and we’re very upset to hear that,” he said. “It was very saddening and disheartening to see that some of the local members were unhappy with the presence of the UMA in Padstow. It is very unfortunate that the religion and race has been dragged into this Islamophobia and this backlash within the Padstow community.”

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Arrest warrant issued over mosque attack

Corey EllisAn arrest warrant has been issued for a man sought over an attack of a worshipper at a Newcastle mosque.

The 47-year-old worshipper was leaving the mosque at Wallsend after evening prayers on November 12 when he was confronted by a man.

Police say words were exchanged and the offender tried to punch the victim, and then grabbed his hair, before pushing him. The man then got into a car with several other people and drove off.

The 47-year-old was not injured.

Police have spent recent weeks reviewing CCTV footage and have today issued a warrant for the arrest of Corey Ellis.

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Two teenagers charged over pig’s head attack on NSW mosque

Newcastle mosque pig's headNewcastle police have charged two teenagers over an incident in which a pig’s head was thrown into the grounds of the city’s mosque.

Police said the two 17-year-olds have “made admissions” regarding the incident last week and will be dealt with under the young offenders act. They have been charged with offensive behaviour and aggravated littering.

The attack happened a week after a worshipper was assaulted following evening prayers and several weeks after two Newcastle Muslim women were verbally abused while sitting in a car.

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Mareeba, Queensland: Islamic school meeting draws hostile crowd

Emotions were running high on Saturday at the first public meeting of the proposed Standard Bearers Academy, a $70 million multi-denominational boarding college to be built near Mareeba.

Proponents of the 1200 all-male student Academy held the information session at Mareeba Bowls Club to gauge public support after media reports described the planned broad-based curriculum as having an “Islamic world view.”

The school hopes to attract students from around Australia, including Far North Queensland taking in Cape York Peninsula and the Torres Strait.

The SBA plans to offer Agricultural courses on its 96 acre Tinaroo Creek Rd site with an emphasis on equestrian studies, environmental awareness, sports centre, Olympic-sized swimming pool, tartan running track, an orchard and a training farm.

More than 100 residents were told by Academy education advisor Dylan Chown that rather than focus on Islam, the Academy planned to offer students of all religions entry in an attempt to allay the perception of a fundamental Islamic school.

In reply to a question from the floor, Mr Chown said although “students from another faith could be enrolled, Islamic values will be taught.” This response brought a mercurial reply of derision from the audience with claims of Islamic indoctrination. Another member of the audience asked why Mareeba was chosen for the Academy and could the community expect rural areas in the north to be “infiltrated with students trying to convert others?”

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Anti-bigotry response team established to clean anti-Muslim graffiti from places of worship

Anti-Bigotry Response Team

A group of volunteers has come together to support Perth’s Muslim community after a spate of recent graffiti attacks on places of worship.

The Anti-Bigotry Response Team has gathered outside a Sikh Temple that was mistaken for a mosque and spray painted with anti-Muslim messages three weeks ago.

That incident followed incidents at two Perth mosques and an Islamic school which were painted with slogans including “ban Islam”.

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Mutilated pig left outside mosque in Perth

Perth mosque dead pigA mutilated pig has been found strewn outside the main entrance of a Perth mosque today.

Imam Shabir Moosa told news.com.au that a pig’s head, some of its limbs and guts were discovered about 8am by one of the students leaving the Masjid Ibrahim mosque and a local community member.

Islamic law forbides the consumption of pork and Imam Moosa said the incident could have been motivated by an “objection” to their beliefs. “It’s an awful thing to see, and while we do not consume pigs, animal brutality universally is not acceptable, so it’s disheartening from that angle as well,” he said.

It comes less than a week after a pig’s head was thrown at a mosque in Newcastle. The week before, on November 13, a Muslim man was punched in the face and racially taunted outside the mosque as he left prayer.

Imam Shabir said that while he could not be sure of the intent of the person who left the remains at Masjid Ibrahim, it was likely to be an expression of “venting, frustration or anger, an expression of an objection of something.”

The mosque in the southeastern Perth suburb of Southern River was opened in June by WA Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural interests Mike Nahan.

When asked whether security would be increased following this incident, Imam Shabir said: “Issues like this, in our opinion, don’t require anything further to be done”. What was needed, he said, was to continue to build bridges with other areas of the Australian community. “It doesn’t dampen our spirits in any way, if anything it inspires us to do more in this regard,” he said.

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