I have been an atheist for my entire life, but generally I do not feel the need to try to convince others that my understanding of the universe is definitively correct(which of course it is 🙂 ). My default position is always that every individual is entitled to believe what they please as long as they don’t try to force their beliefs onto other people. It is sort of sadly amusing when you get a bunch leftists getting very hot under the collar about objections to a proposed Islamic school in Camden south of Sydney. It is actually rather annoying that the face of the objectors shown on the ABC and much quoted by the leftist commentators has been of the less articulate and the less well informed. The inner urban left just love to characterise the concerns of the objectors as “racism” (even though Islam is not a race) and their fears as evil xenophobia.
James Farrell’s piece at Club Troppo is a good example of how the left want to punish the communities that they don’t like for rejecting the advances of ones that they do. After putting an argument for a basicly secular education system he makes a snappy about face and advocated the imposition of the Islamic school on the people of Camden . I could not help but conclude that this is just to spite those he characterises as “Hansonite”.
Notwithstanding my dislike of religious schools, I hope that there is an appeal, and that Camden Council’s decision is overturned. In the short term, if we are to remain a liberal and tolerant society, we are going to have more Islamic schools rather than less. It will not prove possible to obstruct them all on planning grounds. But blocking Camden will just move the battle ground somewhere else; and the Camden protesters’ ugly tactics, having apparently worked, will lend legitimacy to more of the same.
Just for a little perspective I quote from today’s SMH the stated reasons that the development application was actually rejected.
The council cited increased traffic and a lack of public transport among its concerns. Local police, the Roads and Traffic Authority and the NSW Department of Primary Industries opposed the proposed school on Burragorang Road in Cawdor.
Police found there was a likelihood of “major traffic collisions and traffic offences in or near the location”, while the department said that the lot was “valuable and limited” agricultural land.
I have sincere reservations about all types of “faith based” education, even the sort espoused in the secular state schools by those who are very keen to propagate the green religion to our children, but the far left seem to be too willing to make any concession to those wanting to propagate Islam even though Islam has so many values that are entirely antithetical to the secular values that the left is so keen champion. Just little things like the equality and autonomy of women or the existence of the secular state for starters which smacks of hypocrisy to me.
While the face of the objectors to this school shown on Four Corners was indeed a rather ill-informed and uneducated, ugly even, the rabid response to it from the left is no less ugly either. Seeking to punish the people of Camden ( by forcing acceptance of the school) because they are concerned about the nature of development in their communities is just plan spiteful nonsense; every person who lives in a community has a right to object to the proposed developments in the place where they live, even if their reasons are not ones that the left like. I am willing to bet that if someone wanted to build a bacon factory next next door to a Mosque in Lakemba the left would not be denouncing the inevitable Muslim protests that would follow, they would probably be shouting the arguement about “cultural sensitivity” instead.
Well how about a little cultural sensitivity for the people of Camden?