Queensland: 250 people heckle councillor over proposal to build mosque

A community meeting has turned heated after angry Gold Coast residents gathered to object to a mosque being built in their area. A crowd of about 250 people heckled Gold Coast councillor Chris Robbins when she was explaining the council process of approving applications, in reference to the proposal to build a mosque on Cannon St, Currumbin.

“You can object to it, you can hate it or whatever, but the law is you can’t discriminate,” Cr Robbins said. “The town plan is not able to discriminate and say that a land use … can only be used for a particular religion.” Cr Robbins continued to attempt to quell the crowd – even as it started raining – by explaining how residents could object to the development through the council process. However, at times, her advice was drowned by cries about not wanting “that culture here”.

Organiser Tracey Thompson was adamant the gathering was “not a protest”. She said it was just a gathering to provide locals with information on how lodge an objection to the development.

“This is not about race,” Mrs Thompson told The Courier-Mail. “This is about objecting to the amplified music and the additional traffic the development will bring. And the other concern is the amplified music will effect the special needs children at the school located about 500m up the road from the proposed development.”

Speakers at the event explained how residents could object to the application by lodging a submission online. Suggested objections circulated to the crowd via flyers included that the development was too close to residential and light industrial properties in the area.

Among the crowd were groups like the Brisbane-based Freedom and Heritage Society of Australia, who claimed they defended the “national identity”. They affirmed their objections to the development were not based on race, but they said they opposed all threats to Australians “freedoms and values”.

National secretary David Truman said the culture of Islam here would result in “ghettos” and an increase in violent assaults like “rape”.

“At the end of the day it’s not just about local issues like noise and traffic, it’s also about what happens when a mosque comes to your area,” Mr Truman said. “It’s about the impact on the community and the lack of social sustainability.”

No one representing the proposed development was at the meeting.

Courier-Mail, 22 June 2014