Muslim Schooling on Gold Coast

The Gold Coast where I live has hit the news headlines this last week as a group of Christians petitioned, and protested against the establishment of a Muslim school in Carrara. Australian International Islamic College, based in Durack, Brisbane, is proposing to build the Gold Coast’s first Muslim school right next door to the Dream Centre, a large AOG church.

Tony Doherty, a minister with the Dream Centre, is coordinating the Concerned Carrara Residents Group, mobilizing the local residents against the proposed school. The group’s expressed concerns are about the increase in traffic, reduced security, the disturbance of the peace (look how upset the group is and the school hasn’t started yet), a lack of community cohesion relating to the long standing churches and social clubs in the area, a concern that a separated Muslim community would take over the area, and the loss in property values.

It’s obvious that this protest is based on a concern about the school being Islamic. There’s a major school just down the road run by an interdenominational group of Christians that would have ten times the amount of traffic.

One of the comments from the Church is that it doesn’t make sense to have a Muslim community next to a Christian community. Where else would you place them if you wanted them to live harmoniously within the wider community?

I think it’s time to affirm what being Australian means. We live in a secular society, in which people of all walks of life can have access to education and employment, no matter what their creed. That includes access to State schools, as well as the right to provide faith-based education that fits with the State’s syllabus.

It’s also time to reaffirm the meaning of Christian hospitality, in which people are welcomed and treated with respect, no matter where they’ve come from. It’s Plan Be – treat others as you would have them treat you.

I’m working on gathering Christians interested in a more welcoming conversation with the Muslim community on the Gold Coast, picking up on the “Coexist” focus of the Project Abraham community formed back in 2005. Let me know if you’d like to be involved or kept informed.

3 Replies to “Muslim Schooling on Gold Coast”

  1. I find their objections interesting (though not surprising). They’re probably the same objections that were heard by community people when the church built its property. Yet I wonder if the church was worried about those factors then.
    I would have thought it would be a wonderful opportunity for mission right on their doorstep.
    Good luck on the dialogue.

  2. I think until you have lived near a Muslim community it is difficult to comment on the concerns of the locals. All around the world there are major problems occuring that are a direct link to this religion. Once this school is built, the Gold Coast will be pressured to ‘conform’ to their beliefs, just as Bankstown in Sydney is experiencing (the Bass Hill and Bankstown shopping centres no longer show nativity scenes). Racism is always the card that is pulled when they experience any sort of push back.
    This is a problem we do not want to bring to the Gold Coast.

  3. I believe that australia is a place of freedom, it gives any race or believe to practise what they want as long as it does not harm anyone and as long as they respect the law of the land. We have a constitution that allows any religion to be heard and judged by the judge in a court of law. Unfortunately we have black sheep in every community who choose to take things out of context or follow a extreme leader. Just like pauline hanson. After all like the prophet
    Mohammed(pbuh) said ‘ignorance and arogance is a curse’ and thats whats happening. After 4 years gold coast islamic school is growing and the teachers and the principle are non-muslim and teaching both the islamic and australian value. Alcohol consumption and brothel are growing and the younger generation are walking into it. We should work hard and stop alcohol and brothel from increasing. I am a proud aussie muslim and so are my kids. We follow our religion and respect the law of the land. I choose for my kids to go to islamic school where they learn both values. A non-muslim school would not cater for islamic education as a subject. They might have it as option in year 11 and 12, but by then it is too late. As long as any religious school implement the australian value, I dont have a problem with it. Gold coast community has no knowledge about islam, except for watching tv or the papers. Carrara is the ideal place for the school as it gives exposure. What dream centre or you think is irrelevant, total arrogance.

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