LISTENING: The crowd tunes in to a forum on Islam held by Sunshine Coast Safe Communities.
LISTENING: The crowd tunes in to a forum on Islam held by Sunshine Coast Safe Communities. John Mccutcheon

Safe Communities responds to top cop's call for tolerance

A SUNSHINE Coast group concerned about the spread of Islam has responded to the region's top police officer's call for tolerance for the Muslim community.

Sunshine Coast Safe Communities said many of Superintendent Darryl Johnson's statements, published in the Sunshine Coast Daily were correct.

But tolerance "is a two-way street".

"As Supt Johnson points out, and we agree, there is no indication that we should fear Muslims on the Sunshine Coast," spokesman Ron Hutchins said.

"Everything Supt Johnson says about our community is true and if the situation was static, it would only be real bigots who would oppose a mosque ideally used just for prayers."

RELATED: Restrictions lifted on operation of Maroochydore mosque

But, Mr Hutchins argued the world wasn't "dynamic" and people needed to recognise a pattern when a series of events "repeat time and again".

"Typically a small number of Muslims move into a community, and a mosque is built," Mr Hutchins said.

"More believers move in and an enclave is created. The nature of the community begins to change and the founding Muslims may become marginalised by the new Muslims."

"Crime levels rise and many of the original residents move out. Members of the enclave can now live according to their beliefs and customs, even if these fall outside the host country laws or values.

"Imams in the mosque may start preaching violent scriptures and discrimination against others. This becomes a divided community, a state within a state, a nation within a nation.

"There are a thousand such communities like this in Europe, where even the police can only enter in force," Mr Hutchins claimed.

"This many not happen on the Coast, but there are no guarantees."

Like Supt Johnson, Ms Hutchins believed "the great majority of Muslims want a peaceful life".

"However a small number have put our nation on 'high terror alert.

"Raheel Raza, a Muslim Human Rights Advocate has dedicated her life speaking out against the rise of radical Islam.

"She said, 'there is a much bigger debate to be had. When there is a disease or a virus, it can't be treated unless you identify the problem. So we have to call it for what it is - violent radical, extremist Islamism".

RELATED: Local tensions push Coast Muslims to travel away to pray

Sunshine Coast Safe Communities wished to make a clear distinction between religious belief, protected by the Constitution and "components of Islam that are  highly political, militaristic and judicial".

"These are clearly incompatible with democracy, freedoms, gender equality and human rights.

"It is Islam and not our peaceful Muslim friends that codify violence and instruct discrimination against non-believers," Mr Hutchins said.

"Islam divides the world into believers and non-believers, men and women, Sunni and Shia.

"Ignorance of Islam is a choice. Many people display a 'lack of knowledge' yet have strong opinions.

"Few have taken the time to understand the Islamic scriptures, history and culture.

"We believe a community should be able to defend itself against unsafe developments, even if the risks are not covered by local planning laws.

RELATED: YOUR SAY: Mosque changes divisive or inclusive?


"This is the practical application of the universally accepted 'Precautionary Principle'.

"Perhaps the most disappointing part of Supt Johnson's statement is that a "right-wing" attack is his greatest fear.

"His example, whilst being a despicable act of racism, is hardly one which should engender fear in a "top cop".

"Apart from the known Islamic extremist attacks there are numerous others with a potential for multiple deaths that have been prevented by thorough policing. 

"Threats by Hizb-ut-Tahrir, to raise an army to enforce Sharia and their Australian Islamic Constitution should be taken seriously.

"There are currently over 400 'persons of interest' who pose a risk to community safety and national security being tracked 24/7. Is there any evidence these people are 'dangerous right-wing extremists'? 

"We have numerous examples where national security and people's lives are at risk from acts of extremist Islam.

"There are mosques that add to this risk by supplying guns (Parramatta Mosque), harbouring criminal gangs (Appleby Group) and preaching hate against Christians and Jews (Marion Road Mosque).

"To be concerned about these activities is not discrimination against vulnerable minority groups, nor is it hate speech. It is stating fact and indentifying the challenges Australia faces from radical and political Islam.

"The comments of Supt Darryl Johnson seem to be at odds with those of ASIO and the AFP.

"It is concerning that the Police and the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner want to strengthen laws to punish 'discrimination'.

"There is a worldwide campaign to make "islamophobia" a criminal offence.

"This would result in prosecution of anyone criticising an ideology with components incompatible with Australian laws and values.

"In many Islamic countries such criticism can result in death. If discrimination is to be widened to the point where anyone who takes "offence" can have the state prosecute on their behalf, we are headed for a police state.

" We believe freedom of speech MUST include the right to criticise systems, politics and ideas that represent a threat to democracy, human rights and equality. Anything less is a serious removal of these freedoms

"We are always willing to talk and cooperate with any group - the police, the Muslim community or others to ensure that our community remains safe.

"Not one person, who has opposed our views or called us names, has accepted our invitation to meet.

"Not one person who has called us 'ignorant' has displayed even a basic understanding of Islam."

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