Sydney, May 27 (AKI) - A council on the outskirts of Australia's largest city, Sydney, has unanimously rejected a proposal for an Islamic school after bitter opposition from local residents.
Around 200 residents from the town of Camden southwest of the city cheered when the council announced the application had been refused on Tuesday night.
Dressed in a hat decorated with Australian flags, local resident, Kate McCulloch, emerged from the meeting declaring a victory for "decency" - and insisted Muslims were incompatible with the local community.
"We don't want them here in Camden, we don't want them in Australia," McCulloch said.
"They're an oppressive society, this is an Anglo-European society."
Camden's mayor, Chris Patterson, said that the decision to refuse the application had nothing to do with religious tension or racial prejudice.
He told the media that the application for the school which was to teach 1,200 students was rejected because of "inadequate" planning.
Police blocked off the street outside the council meeting but no supporters from the Islamic school were there.
A council report recommended that the application be refused after more than 3,000 submissions had been received from the public.
Residents denied their opposition was racist.
"Racist is just a word," McCulloch told the media. "I have many English, Irish, Greek and Italian friends. I even have a Turkish friend who opposes this."
Patterson said a report from council officers showing the proposed development was flawed on environmental and planning grounds.
The council criticised the proposed developers, the Koranic Society Dar Tahfez El-Quran, for not responding to questions concerning the impact on the local environment.
According to a report in The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper, the society's spokesman, Jeremy Bingham, was not at the meeting and unavailable for comment.
The Jewish Board of Deputies issued a statement calling for the Camden community to address issues of "perceived prejudice".
Really sad to hear this.....
These Australians....I tell you!!!