Muslim school plan ignites Gold Coast protest

December 2nd, 2008 - 12:51 pm ICT by ANI  

Sydney, Dec.2 (ANI): The Australian International Islamic College, planned for Carrara, has raised the ire of Gold Coast City residents who fear it will lead to the local Muslim population withdrawing from the rest of the community.
Demonstrators have swarmed the Gold Coast City Council headquarters to protest against moves to build a Muslim school.
According to the Courier Mail, almost 200 residents turned out for the demonstration, draped in Australian flags and shouting pro-Aussie slogans while Australian rock classics such as Down Under and Great Southern Land boomed across the parkland.
A rally last week attracted about 400 people, while people turned out yesterday carrying placards bearing slogans such as “no Muslim school, hell no” and “integration, not segregation”.
Resident’’s spokesman Tony Doherty said Muslim schools did not encourage multiculturalism.
“It’’s segregation, not integration. They”re not trying to integrate into the rest of society. Since we have started protesting against this our churches have been covered in hate-filled graffiti,” Doherty was quoted, as saying.
He denied it was hypocritical to oppose Muslim and not Christian schools.
Some residents say they are opposed to the school more because of parking issues rather than religious grounds.
Mayor Ron Clarke has publicly said he would support the school as long as it satisfies the council’’s planning criteria.
The council will not make any decision on the future of the school until next year. If approved, the school is unlikely to open until at least the middle of next year. (ANI)

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