(Advertiser 27th Feb 2015)
David Penberthy begins his ignorant criticism of the Salisbury Mosque opponents by referring to Islamic preachers of hatred. He says “We don’t want these hate-filled people in our communities. If this kind of thing is their bag, they should bugger off out of here and never return.”
His concluding paragraphs repeat the word “Hatred” and he surmises that those who argue against the planning decision of Council’s Development Assessment Panel are ignorant of things which he considers to be important. Hatred and ignorance are Penberthy’s message.
His trivial academic level of research appears to have been conducted by a high school student with a couple of clicks on Google.
Mr Penberthy, coagulates all those who oppose the decision as ignorant even though he was neither present at the last DAP meeting nor at the Council meeting where two complainants lodged 67 page documents which included 50 pages of research and supporting documents with detailed citations , quotes and references to further sourced materials of academic ethnographies, PhD Thesis, and referrals to law, case law and evidence given in various Senate and Government Security inquiries.
For Penberthy to make such sweeping generalisations, accusations of ignorance and failure of objectors to ask questions, without any information regarding the nature of the objections or complaints, coupled with his apparent incapacity or willingness to consider otherwise puts him squarely in the spot of those whom he criticises. Mr.Penberthy’s article displays the characteristics of a classic bigot.
Had Penberthy attended either of the Council or DAP meetings he would not have heard the word “hate” mentioned, nor would he have heard any suggestion that any one should , to use his words, “bugger off out”[of Australia].
He would have heard the statement of the complainant who opened by saying that he understood that that
at least 75% to 90% of the 476,000 Australians who identify as Muslim are “ordinary Muslims” The speaker quoted an elderly Muslim “Ninety per cent of us don't go to a mosque, senator. Ninety per cent of us have no affiliation with any mosque. ... I came here to escape those tyrants,”
THE COMPLAINT IS NOT ABOUT ORDINARY MUSLIM AUSTRALIANS.
The complaint is that Council made an ill-informed, irresponsible decision.
And that Council has not provided for appropriate Public Participation.
It is difficult to see how Mr. Penberthy, had he bothered to find out, could have interpreted that as anything other than an opening message of social inclusion.
When Penberthy says “...to the extent that we hate anyone, we [should] at least hate the right people.” Mr. Penbarthy is the only person preaching hatred of anyone
He writes “... you can see why some people in Salisbury have questions about the proposed construction of a mosque in their midst. The problem is that they don’t have enough questions.” He asserts that appropriate questions have not been asked by residents and he infers that the answers would have mollified them.
They actually have asked more than enough questions, they are just not getting any answers. The difference between them and Mr.Penberthy is that he has failed to make any inquiries. Either that or he has ignored the facts. Had he asked if the Patriots Defence League had anything to do with the actual complaints made by local residents, or the complaint documents submitted or if they were a party to any presentation to Council he would have found out that the answer to all those questions is: No they were not.
The complaining residents stood alone. The spontaneous support that they received from something like, now a thousand, petitioners and 130 attendees at the last Council meeting tends to show a chord has been struck.
When Mr. Penberthy, glibly talks of ...the depressing reflection [of] the intellectual quality of the debate... he has a clear intention of triviallising the standing and content of the complaints. Meanwhile he quotes his “wiki” research to show that the applicant’s are descended from Ghengis Khan. Had he dug a little deeper he would not be so certain about that. The Hazara background is much less ethnographically certain. It appears that a claim to being descended from the great Khan is something of moral booster brought out as a matter of pride. Much like a Brit who asserts they are descended from King Alfred. Both real figures in history but about whom much myth has formed.
It seems to be almost certainly true that the Hazara have recently been the losing protagonists to the Taliban. It is less certain that they have historically always been the losing victims of such conflicts.
Mr. Penberthy throws further bigotry the way of the complainants by saying that ...unless we want to outsource our thinking to fools... we should ensure ...we hate the right people.
Had his own research gone a little further he would have found recent articles in reputable Australian Press reports on the Hazara in Australia. He would have found a report from Sydney August 2014 ...More than 10,000 Hazaras live in Western Sydney.... young men...believed to be from the ... Hazara group, [are] being lost to extremist ideology and crime. ...The stabbed teen claims to be a “Hezbollah soldier” and proudly posts quotes from extreme preachers
He would have found it reported in June 14, 2014 that The National Children’s and Youth Law Centre identified 250 cases of under-age marriage in 24 months, ...there are at least 60 child wives living in south-western Sydney alone. ...In Melbourne, The Immigrant and Refugee Women’s Coalition sees 150 women a week,... only the tip of the iceberg,” she says. ... “I would say nearly every Afghan Hazara family in Melbourne is involved in this practice.”
They are kept prisoners, locked in their husbands’ homes so they can never seek help.”
This mother said, ‘I’m afraid she will run away and they will definitely kill her if she does.’” the girl’s father told her: “It would be better for everyone if she dies.” Brother says, “If it was up to me I would kill her right now. Either we throw her away or we kill her.”
Another case The father, and the girl’s “husband” — charged with 25 counts of sexual intercourse with a child and the imam who conducted the ceremony was fined $500 and is awaiting deportation.
There’s a saying they use for the wedding night: “Kill the cat to slaughter the cat.” “The cat is the young bride and the saying means she must have her self-esteem slaughtered from day one so she will never raise her voice or have her say.”
The complainants to the Salisbury Council affirmed their complete acceptance of ordinary Muslims in Australia but they assert a zero tolerance to this sort of recorded breach of Australian Civil and Criminal Laws and were gagged when they began asking questions of council as to what sort of inquiries Council, Council officers, or DAP had made into the Applicant to ensure this sort of activity was not going to be imported into Salisbury.
Mr. Penberthy talks of people who shout the loudest. Those present know it was the Salisbury Mayor that did the shouting and shut down these questions being asked. It was the gagging of an ordinary resident who, had consent to be present and make submissions and who was asking the questions that Penberthy says should be asked that brought on the gallery vocal objections.
In one respect Mr. Penberthy is correct. There is a need for more questions. The complainants have been asking them. The Planning Authorities have not.
The (SA) State Constitution Act provides for better government by a system of local government. The Local Government Act provides that a principal role of local government is to act as a representative and to make informed and responsible decisions in the interests of the community. The Planning Act provides for appropriate public notification and participation in the assessment of development proposals.
Council had a duty to the residents of Salisbury to make made further and better inquiries into the intended use of the premises and advertise to the public matters material and relevant to the intended uses of the premises.
In particular Council made no inquiry into the current practises of the Applicant or the community it represents in light of the very disturbing reports coming out of Sydney and Melbourne.
Conflicting reports as to the intended uses of the subject land abound. Local reporters as well as TV news assert that a spokesperson for the Hazara applicants says that prayer is to be but a small part of the activities on the land and it is more like a community centre and a school than a mosque. The application to Council was for neither a community centre, nor a school, nor a mosque. It was only for a “place of worship”
It is currently impossible for Council to know what activities will occur on the subject land.
Local residents are right to complain that there is a breach of the intent of the Local Government and Development Laws in that they do not know what is planned and the notification process has been inadequate in the circumstances.
Complaints to The Ombudsman have been made and he has been requested to inquire and intervene.