Saturday, October 15, 2005

Knees-up in suburbia.

Bitter row over suburban mosque
By Chris Tinkler

A RELIGIOUS dispute has flared in Melbourne's east over a moderate Muslim group's plans to build a mosque.

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Association wants to build a worship centre in Clyde, in Melbourne's outer east, for its 200 Victorian followers. But the plan has prompted furious resistance and 40 residents on neighbouring land have objected to Casey Council.
The group says it is peace-loving, but many residents say they do not want Muslims, and certainly not a mosque, near their homes.

Javed Choudhary, Victorian president of the association, which has been worshipping in rented halls for eight years, said he was dismayed by what he saw as religious intolerance.

"Everyone has a right to say what they think, but this is a shock for us," Mr Choudhary, a pharmacist, said.

Council delays mosque vote
By Alison Noonan

13th October 2005 08:31:15 AM

CASEY councillors have stunned residents by entertaining a proposal to build a mosque in Clyde.
At Tuesday night’s Planning Committee meeting councillors resolved to defer their decision to grant an application by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association of Australia to develop a place of assembly on Manks Road.
They agreed to first hold an onsite inspection before making a final decision on the controversial proposal.
The move shocked Balla Balla Ward councillor Colin Butler and local residents, who have strongly opposed the plans.
Cr Butler said he was surprised councillors opted to vote against council officers’ recommendations to reject the application, claiming a mosque was totally inappropriate for the rural area and Green Wedge Zone.
“The decision has been put off for a fortnight because some councillors think we should look and see where the mosque will actually be constructed,” he said.
“I thought we were pretty right. I didn’t think the councillors would support the application, considering it is in breach of many of council’s planning controls.
“I bet none of the councillors go down there anyway,” he said.
Manks Road resident Helen LaFontaine said council should not be supporting a development that was “very much against local residents’ needs.”
“It doesn’t meet with policy guidelines.
“A development in a rural area should accommodate at least some of the locals but this doesn’t,” she said.
However, Strathard Ward councillor Lorraine Wreford said it was only fair to the applicants that council investigate the issue further, stating there was too much at stake for both parties to rush a decision through.
“It doesn’t matter where someone puts an application in for a church. There are always huge objections.
“This particular group is trying to be considerate of the community by locating to a rural property and would probably be less disruptive than the chicken farm next door.
“They are damned if they do and damned if they don’t,” she said.
Ahmadiyya Muslim Association Melbourne Branch President Javed Choudhary said in a report presented to council that 60 per cent of its members resided in Casey.
Therefore it was logical for the community to look for a place of worship in the municipality, he said.
Mr Choudhary claimed the worship activities would create minimal noise and disruption to traffic and said the appearance of the building would be designed to blend in with the surrounding environment.
“A welldesigned house of worship with beautifully landscaped gardens would enhance the value of the surrounding area,” he said.

Interestingly enough, I was recently accused of being 'hateful' and a 'racist' on another blog. (Even more interesting, when I mentioned this to a group of old friends, one of them agreed with the 'racist' tag. Well there you go. I wasn't overly surprised, though.)

I try to be reasonable and non-judgemental, but there are areas where I fall down.

But I digress. Reading in the local paper about the submission to build a mosque in my new local zone, my first reaction was a kneejerk response. Nope, no way, not interested. Good old NIMBY.

Further cogitation led me to google, to check out the Amidayyah Muslims.

Which lead me to The Persecution Org. Talk about eating your young! This particular branch of the Islamic tree is considered heretical, which would have to be worse than being an infidel in Shia or Sunni Muslim eyes. There is a long list of ongoing persecution from their brothers-in-arms. Please note that I use that term figuratively and not literally.

Comments from Hugh Fitzgerald over at JihadWatch as usual provide a nice balance to the website of the Ahmadi Muslims, coming as they do from a non-Muslim who is well-versed in the world of Islam:
The members of the Ahmadiyya group are, by and large, and here and there only slightly, better educated, less closed to the big world, the real world, than other Muslims. After all, they, like have managed, despite mental straitjacket that Islam provides, to reject important parts of Islam, including a reduced role for Muhammad who is no longer seen as the Last, the Seal, of the Prophets (cf. in the United States, the Prophet Elijah Muhammad, whose followers are not regarded by Al Azhar as real Muslims, though they would no doubt be surprised to hear of their lowly status in the eyes of "real" Muslims).

The only "Muslim" to win a Nobel Prize in the sciences was Abdus Salam, a physicist, a member of the Ahmadiyya sect. One wonders if, had he been the other kind, the full-fledged kind, of Muslim, that he would have possessed a sufficient ability to maneuver in the world of uncertainty, and free inquiry, that the undertaking of science requires.

Imagine, with some sympathy, how difficult it must be to live in a Muslim society. At what stage do the handful of people who fight their way out mentally from that society declare themselves, and to whom? Isn't it far easier, and safer, to say nothing, but occasionally to indicate, by a word here or there, one's own distance from the True Believers, and should one encounter non-Muslims, to both wish to daringly show a little of that leg (intellectually speaking), by speaking not quite respectfully of Islam, but at the same time, out of filial piety and inherited distaste, born of all sorts of things (envy, anger, even that essential hostility to all things non-Muslim that comes with a Muslim mother's milk), if that Infidel himself offers any criticism of Islam, there is a counter-desire to immediately rally round the Green Flag of Islam, and engage in whatever taqiyya-and-tu-quoque nonsense comes to hand to fend off the disrespectful Infidel. An amazing mental show -- one you can experience for yourself, any day of the week, by merely engaging in conversation about Islam any outwardly advanced and Westernized and seemingly rational and affable Muslim. Just record (perhaps even surreptitiously tape) the results. It is fascinating -- could be the subject of a book or two: "How Muslims Think." Or you could simply visit the websites of ex-Muslims such as, where such matters are frequently discussed.

The Ahmadiyya are regarded by "real" Muslims as Infidels, though they themselves are horrified at that designation. After all, they, or their ancestors who became members of the sect, did not leave Islam altogether -- did not become, for example, Christians. That would involve real willingness to suffer for the faith.

Ahmadiyya Muslims are not limited to Pakistan. They have been successful missionaries missionaries in Africa, where the more easygoing version of Islam, until the Saudis started making their own calculated and sinister investments, was well received.

It is too much to ask of people within the totalitarianism of Islam to be brave, to openly leave the faith. But it is not too much to ask them not to participate, either in Internet discussions with the outside, or in the secret meeting-room of their own conscience, not to tell themselves the truth about Islam.

Ahmadiyya Islam is akin to Cro-Magnon man: a step up on the phylogenetic scale from the Pithecanthropus erectus of primitive unreformed Islam, but not quite there yet.

The next obvious move is out of Islam altogether. After all, if one is going to be persecuted as an Infidel even if one thinks of oneself as an (Ahmadiyya) "Muslim," why bother to remain connected to Islam at all? Why not to fresh fields, and pastures new?

I am still against the enforcement of purdah on women - we are not chattels, and a woman should be able to choose any form of dress or interaction with the community at large. That is the beauty of our society here.

But... I am wondering if it might not be a bad idea to allow a mosque in the area. These people seem to be genuinely moderate, and not just playing taqiyya like plenty of others we could name.

Let's face it, if they're getting blown up in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Indonesia, then surely they are entitled to some peaceful practise of their beliefs.


At 7:23 PM, Blogger Nick and Nora Charles said...

Regardless of the council's decisions, the best thing that the locals can do is actively involve these people in the rest of community.

Overwhelm them and don't let them retreat into an enclave. If they are truly moderate, they hopefully will became a valued part of the community.

Nicky might, perhaps disagree. but I prefer to indulge in a little optimism.

-- Nora

At 1:10 PM, Blogger Nilk said...

A little optimism is a good thing, Nora. I find myself getting somewhat down, the more I read and see, but there are also light spots. I've been reading Michael Yon and his account of Mosul over in Iraq, and that gives me hope.

It takes time to integrate with a community, and if the council does decide to grant a permit for the mosque, it will be interesting to see what happens.

Hopefully it can all be civilised.


Post a Comment

<< Home