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bother « Previous | |Next »
May 13, 2009

The fuss and bother over a proposed Muslim college in Camden last year was a spectacular media event. The people of Camden really know how to do outrage. The residents of Carrara on the Gold Coast, not so much.

The proposed Gold Coast Islamic College, to house 60 students at Chisholm Rd, Carrara, made headlines late last year when hundreds of protesters stormed the city's council chambers shouting Australian slogans while boom boxes blared out Oz rock classics. The project has attracted more than 1000 objections, with only 67 written submissions in support of the school, even though Mayor Ron Clarke said it was just as important to cater for the needs of minority groups as for the masses.

Despite the immense power of Cold Chisel and Australian Crawl singles boom boxed up to 11, the council approved the school.

Bits and pieces have been turning up in local media since then, but nothing terribly substantial.


The free local Gold Coast Sun [not online] has been fairly neutral on the topic, sticking to straight, regular, reporting on developments. Hooray for you, Ed Earl, reporter worthy of the title.

This week, Ed reports that council planners are imposing conditions on the school, seeing as how it's being built in a residential area. A lot like the school not a stone's throw from my house. In a residential area. With residents and houses, and not factories and office buildings and shopping centres.

Unfortunately, Ed doesn't spell out all of the conditions, but they appear to include:

the college also had to give up 30 percent of its land and was forced to build a 200m footpath just to get a green light.

None of which tells us very much. Other conditions are operating conditions which will effect the school's capacity to function like other schools:

These conditions include restricting operating hours to between 8am and 3.05pm, as well as a requirement for council to be given 30 days notice for every after-school function.

No after school care, then. Or after school detention. Or parent-teacher nights. Or after school sports training. Or school plays or fetes or school dances or P and C meetings or band practice or on-site professional development. Or any of the other things schools routinely do in residential areas.

Council planning boss Ted Shepherd conceded the conditions placed on the Islamic school - relating to hours of operation - were not applicable for every school on the Coast.

According to Keysar Trad they're not applicable for any other school on the Coast.

Cr Shepherd said the conditions were introduced because it was in a residential area, and religion did not play a part.

So it's all above board and perfectly reasonable.

The school, given a green light from the Gold Coast City Council in February, was the subject of a series of protests after some Carrara residents claimed it would put them at risk of terrorism.

Out of school hours terrorism in residential areas is just not acceptable. We already have enough to deal with, what with Lamington drives and 3.30pm tennis lessons.

| Posted by Lyn at 10:48 AM | | Comments (14)
Comments

Comments

hmm,
on the surface it looks as if Queensland has thrown off its redneck image and embraced multiculturalism, but the conditions set in place by the Gold Coast Council indicate otherwise.

Why did it have to give up 30% of its land? To reduce the possibility of kids being trained as terrorists to bomb the iconic tourist sites?

I can't find anything on the 30% of the land thing, but I'd like to know. Still trying to find out.

I'd have thought the likes of Jimmy Barnes would be quite offended at their music being employed for that, of all purposes.
Talkin' 'bout my generation...

I've just spoken to a journo at the paper and they're apparently trying to find out about the land thing at the moment.

As yet unconfirmed speculation suggests it has something to do with a creek running along a border of the property. I'm going to have to keep reading the paper to find out.

Paul,
I made up the bit about specific bands, but maybe it would depend on the song. They could have been playing Flame Tree. Or Moving Pictures - What About Me? Or Kylie's Trust In Me.

Lyn,
There is lots of building going on next to the mosque in Allied Drive Labrador near Harbourtown. No complains about this though. Likely because it is in less of a redneck area. Chisholm rd Carrara next to Nerang is the lower end of the Gold Coast socio-economically so it would be expected that mild racist opinion would be rife.
It doesn't help that there is a "Praise the lord and pass your wallet revival center" type Christian outfit in the same street.

But hey! Can't we just put a train down Chisholm rd? Problem solved.

They saved "What about me" for the budget responses from Laura Tingle, Peter Anderson, other Chicago Schoolers, et al.

Les,
You're right. The mosque is a good example of why we shouldn't generalise about Gold Coast attitudes, though I'd quibble about about the area. Have you been for a drive around the Harbourtown side of the mosque neighbourhood? It's not exactly Beverley Hills.

Probably more important in that area, people have been living side by side for years with no problems. The green grocers at Harbourtown is probably the busiest shop there, despite being run by people of Middle Eastern appearance and women in headscarves.

The times restrictions on activity are unbelievable, and as it is a non-government school, I expect a lawyer could do something life unfair restraint of trade or the like.

I used to have 3 churches within 100m of my place, the RC one across the road was the annoying one with the midnight masses - much later and much louder than anything the islamic school could do with parent teacher nights, etc.

I think there'll be a few stories on this because of legal actions by the school, and hope that there is a Xtian school somewhere in the same rotten borough that has no such restrictions imposed on it.

Mind you, any institution that encourages people to not question certain things shouldn't be called a school, and treated instead like any other corporation.

Dave
I'm surprised the Council has gone out on a legal limb like this. They must know they'll end up in court.

A Hansonist problem starting up in Queensland would not the the best thing for Labor.
In some ways there is a loose similarity with the "busing laws", of Deep South 'seventies notoriety, where the whites used segregrated schools to turn off access to quality schooling, by interfering with the transporting of white and coloured students to schools previously used exclusively by one or other of the racial groups.
Education in the states has been funded locally and in general policy is imposed favourable to political and social tastes emanating from the locals, rich or poor, depending on which social caste is more populous of one of the other and therefore who collectively pay more or less in rates.
In Australia, it would be unhelpful for democracy if there was no adequate appeal available to minorities oppressed by local laws which are overtly against or abused in use against, a minority.
Aboriginals are another group said to be reacted against by a portion of anglo Australian society, so it points to something or other still not sorted in the Australian psyche.

Came back after reading something about Canterbury/Bankstown council being forced to accept approval in the courts of a big Muslim school some where in its area.
Have already commented about the crude Hansonism at work re these facilities over some years, but must say once again, I love to see all separatist (for want of a better term)institutions closed down and incorporated into one large secular organisation aimed exclusively at giving all students a level playing field and the chance to interact with people who might be outside their own subgroup.
That applies as much to High Anglican snob schools, or cranky Proddy fundamentalist as the rest.
I betray my age, don't I?
I was educated at state schools back in the sixties and seventies and I still find them a better reflection of my aspirations for civilisation and demystification than the other category, regardless of Chicken Little parents scared by Tory doom and gloom on Ray Martin, or middle class snobbishness or even the understandable insecurities of ethnic or cultural minorities.
Like I said, a level playing field, no more, no less.
Now, I feel slightly better and await what censure may ensue.
Ps, the restrictions are BS, they can't run a school like that. If the school can conform to more serious curriculum, health, open access etc requirements, then making it a victim of some sort of crude later-day pogrom is an embarrassment..

Paul,

Separate schooling is a hard one. Like you, my primary schooling was an all in and work it out for yourselves thing, but I went to a public girls high school. And I'm glad I did. It was also selective, and I'm glad of that too.

Then you have Steiner schools. And remember there was a hippy style of school for a while in the 70s? And there's home schooling. And special schools for the disabled. The big, sausage factory style of school fails about a third of kids.

On the other hand we're looking at a national curriculum, national standard testing, national rules and regulations, national funding, and other standards at the state level. These treat all schools the same.

It's those national and state level regulations that are being fiddled here, so the council is trying to force the school to behave differently to other schools in ways that have nothing to do with the character of the school itself.

The penny finally drops. This home education is big in, guess- America.
No nasty Darwinism or real history, for the god-fearing kids of these sturdy plainsmen and their bonnetted, sober wives!

Seriously, why would any of you people be thrilled that Islamic schools are springing up in Australia. Count me down for a big YUK!