A Muslim Enclave In Australia? No. Bloody. Way!

IN A DISTURBING potential indication of things to come, the Murdoch press today carries a story about a Muslim housing estate being marketed in Riverstone, in Sydney’s north-west. This is not the Australian way, and such religion-based enterprises have no place in this country.

I have opined previously about the unacceptability of the creeping introduction of Islamic culture in Australia and its inappropriate nature viewed against some manifestations of its impact on mainstream Australian society.

And readers will recall, too, that this column is resolutely opposed to the introduction of Sharia law in Australia on any scale and in any way, shape or form.

With this in mind, I angrily read a piece in today’s edition of Sydney’s Daily Telegraph, which details a commercial plan that can only be designed to establish a dedicated Muslim-only enclave.

The company responsible for the development, Qartaba Homes, claims to be offering “the real estate deal of a lifetime,” offering interest-free mortgages that are open to people of all faiths and religious backgrounds; the fact religion is even mentioned in the selling features of marketing propaganda is cause for at least one raised eyebrow.

The ruse is exposed, however, in its claim that such loans are “100% halal” and a “chance to escape Riba (interest)” because interest is a sin under Islamic law.

And an advertisement or flyer for the scheme apparently promises “100 per cent Halal housing to the growing Muslim community of Australia.”

I haven’t seen this flyer, but if anyone has access to a copy and wishes to scan it and post it as a link to a PDF in the comments section, I’m happy to approve its posting.

That said, however, the company’s claims that it can’t operate in a Muslim-only fashion — backed by quoted comment from a spokesman from the NSW minister for Fair Trading that there are no grounds to take action for discrimination over the Qartaba flyer — are no doubt technically correct, but disingenuous.

Certainly, it’s plausible that the scheme is being marketed in such a way as to avoid breaching any laws with its collateral; any business operator — Muslim or otherwise — need only take routine due diligence in their activities to ensure that.

But the reality, as anyone with any brains at all would clearly recognise, is very different.

Why would anyone from a non-Muslim background be remotely interested in living in what is clearly and obviously intended to be a religiously based, Sharia-observant, all Muslim community?

The idea of interest free mortgage loans might be appealing, but the fact it’s actually being specified that the proffered mortgages do not attract interest because “interest is a sin under Islamic law” in no way constitutes an acceptable business case in Australia.

This is the type of thing, clearly, that is exercising the minds of business leaders in the Muslim community now the fallout from the disgraceful Sydney riot in September seems to have settled.

And there is no place for it in this country.

Australia has always been a welcoming country to people from different backgrounds — and faiths — and has the benefit on the flipside of that of being able to boast one of the richest and most vibrant and diverse social fabrics in the world.

After all, Australia is — at its roots — an immigrant society.

What it isn’t, however, is an ordered system of engineered ethnic enclaves.

It is true that places like Springvale in Melbourne, Cabramatta in Sydney, and Darra in Brisbane have earned a reputation over the years as being “enclaves” for various immigrant communities at various times; indeed, I remember as a teenager that Darra, for example, was the epicentre of Brisbane’s Vietnamese community.

The difference — and it is significant — is that these suburbs, and others like them, were gateways; typically, they were places migrants first settled as they found their feet in a new country before moving on and out into the wider Australian community, where so many great things have been shared with those of us who were already here.

The proposed development at Riverstone, by contrast, appears to be a deliberate attempt to establish a bedrock Islamist community as a virtual island, on which Sharia law is the operative basis of society, and on which Muslims enjoy primacy.

The second difference, of course, is that it’s based on religion, and even in a free and tolerant country like ours is, anything that resembles religiously based segregation needs to be knocked on the head forthwith.

And all of this raises a bigger question: if Muslims are committed to becoming a part of mainstream society, why do they need to be establishing what virtually amounts to a walled community?

We have discussed, previously, things like fast food outlets only selling halal food to avoid offending Muslims — with the attendant disregard for the other 98% of the population that such practices imply — and gender-segregated sports facilities that “respect” Muslim patrons (in total disrespect of everyone else).

And Sharia law has no place — and I want to be emphatic about this — no place whatsoever in Australian society.

If Muslims wish to develop walled communities — irrespective of the attention paid to the finer details of the literature that accompanies them to ensure they do not breach anti-discrimination laws — and live in them under Sharia law, my strong recommendation would be for them to get out of Australia and go and live somewhere else, where such lifestyles are common and accepted practice.

The take-up of land under the scheme by Muslims may, indeed, be “not that overwhelming,” as the Tele article quotes Qartaba director Khurram Jawaid as claiming. But then again, given the subdivision application for the estate hasn’t even yet been lodged with the Blacktown City Council, that’s hardly a surprise.

I think the Liberal MP for the NSW state seat of Hawkesbury, Ray Williams, hits the nail on the head perfectly when he says that “(he) can only imagine the repercussions if a developer were to advertise a new Judeo-Christian housing estate; they would be hung, drawn and quartered.”

And Williams is also right when he points out that marketing a 100% halal Muslim community is hardly inclusive.

Clearly, Muslim members of the Australian community would (rightly) be outraged if a Christian development such as this were to be offered for sale in a manner that very obviously, if implicitly, excluded them — or at the very least made it clear that the offering was being made in such a way that they really weren’t welcome to participate.

And that being the case, why do those responsible for this particular Muslim-based project believe that precisely the same thing, in reverse, is appropriate to do themselves?