Racist NIMBYism: anti-mosque “arguments” in Australia

Est Reading Time: 7 min

[CN: Racism, propaganda]

Q Society pamphlet header: 'A mosque is not like a church or a temple. Propagating Islam is contrary to law in free societies.'

Because of various uhm “reasons”, racist nativism is here to stay. One way it bubbles up in Australia is NIMBYism about religious structures by The Other. You’ve probably seen it in terms of opposition to mosque construction, but similar sentiments have come up against the Jewish community (see tomorrow’s post). These differ in how explicit they are but they all take from the same playbook, so it’s good to be familiar with the type of propaganda spread by white supremacist organisations to try turn the “general public” against minority religions.

You probably don’t need to be told what a mosque is. The only thing I’d add is that Western media tends to portray mosques as “community centres” dedicated to many events and activities and not “just prayers”. This is framed to distinguish mosques from churches, which is disingenuous. Churches also function as community centres, as do most religious institutional buildings.

In terms of affecting the neighbourhood, there isn’t a real difference between many religious buildings either, except for which religion they bring. So pretty much all objections to mosques/synagogues/churches etc are to the people who go there, the other given reasons being excuses. Yes mosques do the adhan (calls to prayer) — not much different to church bells except they’re at less convenient times for non-worshippers. But Australian mosques seem to do this inside the building. I live within 50m of one mosque and 300m of another and never hear a thing.

And yet the opposition to mosques has a “rich” history in Australia, with developments in Buchanan, Narre Warren North, Bendigo, Padstow, Maroochydore and Baulkham Hills to name a few being subject to a protest movement.

With that in mind, here’s the full text of the pamphlet for the white supremacist Q Society that I got in my mailbox (in a suburb where in 2011, 26% of the population were Muslim, probably more now):

“Propagating Islam is contrary to law in free societies” – Gavin Bobby – Law & Freedom Foundation
Prime Minister Regep Ergodan [sic] – The Prime Minister of Turkey stated: “The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers…”

The Fraud in the House of Saud
Just as Mohammed was the guardian of Islam in the seventh century, then the Saudi royal family or the house of Saud, is the guardian of Islam today with the two holiest sites in Mecca and Medina under their control. The late king Fahd bin Abdul Aziz, understood this in his writings on “The Efforts of the Servant of the Two Holy Places to support the Muslim Minorities”. The IMMA or the Institute of Muslim Minorities is the vehicle which the late king created to establish the Islamic world caliphate. It is Saudi foreign policy and a jurisprudence from the Saudi Ministry of Religious Affairs. In the words of king Fahd, mosques, educational centres and bodies like ISNA and MSA are all geared towards hindering Muslim assimilation into non Muslim nations so they can act as a fifth column to bring victory to Islam.

In 1965 during the pilgrimage or Hajj, the World Association of Muslim Youth or WAMY was created to work towards this end and for the non Muslim world, IMMA or the Institute of Muslim Minorities was born. WAMY and IMMA were a collaboration of the Wahhabist and Muslim Brotherhood led by:

  • Said Ramadan, the son-in-law of the Muslim Brotherhood founder, and
  • Abdullah Omar Naseef, a wealth al-Qaeda financier

The House of Saud and Funding Terror
It was reported in May 2008 (JihadWatch) that the Saudis had spent over 100 billion USD to build mosques over the three previous decades, to fund the payroll of Imams, build Islamic schools and corrupt the education system through funding universities and rewriting school textbooks to favour Islam and denigrate western achievements and Christianity. The late king Fahd bin Abd al Aziz [sic] and his family had personally donated hundreds of millions to groups like Hamas and al-Qaeda. Prince Salman, a full brother of King Fahd controlled the International Islamic Relief Organisation or IIRO and directly donated to Hamas. Prince Sultan bin Abd al-Aziz [sic] was a defendant in the September 11 trials and admitted to donating 4 million dollars to terrorist organisations like IIRO and WAMY. The connection of the Saudi royals to funding terror is clear.

Mosque building in Australia
There are currently 340 mosques and prayer halls in Australia, per capita this is six times more than the number of of Buddhist and Hindu temples combined.

Mosque teachings in Australia
What is taught in the mosque comes directly from the Quran, the Hadith collections and the Manual of Islamic Law, the Reliance of the Traveller. Teachings from certain mosques give cause for alarm.

  • On April 27th 2012 in the Preston mosque in Melbourne, an audio tape exists of brother Baha delivering a speech calling on Muslims to engage in Jihad against Australians (in line with Islamic Law O9.0)
  • Sheik Feiz Mohammed who teaches at a mosque in Auburn in Western Sydney, is on video calling for the mass slaughter of all Jews, while making pig noises. (This is from the Hadith of Muslim book 41 no. 6985)
  • From the Lakemba mosque, there is Sheik Hilaly, a former Mufti of Australia defending the rape of a woman because she was not covered in seventh century clothing

What must be done?
The conundrum for law-makers in the West is that a mosque operates under the protection of religious freedom yet a mosque is both political and a place where legal rulings are made which contradict Australian law. We need our politicians and law-makers to recognize[sic] Islam as a political entity. We need to monitor hate speech in mosques given the known seditious nature of Islamic teachings in some mosques.

Why a mosque is so important to Islam

What is a mosque?
It is vitally important to understand what a mosque represents in Islam and that a mosque is not like a church or a temple, but much more than a place for Muslims to worship their God called Allah.

Mosques are modelled on the first mosque established by Mohammed in Medina and are a seat of government, a command center, a court, and in some cases used as military training centres and arms depots. Mosque leaders today raise religious decrees, enforce Islamic doctrine, monitor conduct, punish transgressions and command actions including requirements to conduct Jihad. A mosque is much more than a church! A 2005 study by Freedom House in the USA found that over 80% of mosques encouraged Muslims to work towards an Islamic state and espoused hatred towards non Muslims.

We need to answer the questions:

  • Why are there so many mosques being built?
  • Why do mosques have a capacity much greater than the local Muslim community?

Well that was a doozy. A racist, ignorant, bigoted, fucked-up doozy.

It might be a small thing but the double-misspelling of Erdoğ an’s name sets the tone of general not giving a shit about facts or cultures outside of the author’s sphere. See this post on the Western media’s constant spelling of it as “Erdogan”.

The pamphlet works as long as the reader doesn’t understand the difference between “Islam” and “a particular branch of Islam”. A perfect example: the Freedom House study they referred to exists but it specifically studied Saudi propaganda in “more than a dozen mosques” in the USA. It wasn’t a study about “””mosques”””. Interestingly, Freedom House write: “[t]his project was undertaken after many Muslims requested the Center’s help in exposing Saudi extremism in the hope of freeing their communities from ideological strangulation.”

Yes Wahhabism is bad. I think many Muslims living under Wahhabi regimes or whose lives are made much worse because of Wahhabism will agree. Finding the balance between civil liberties and countering the spread of a terrible ideology is a genuine problem. But it’s not that different to the problem of fighting the spread of (say) white nationalism. Funnily enough that’s not the comparison the pamphlet makes.

The pamphlet implies a global conspiracy theory involving 1-1.6 billion people. It dog-whistles racist moral panic tropes. 340 mosques and prayer halls! 6 times per capita compared to Buddhist+Hindu temples combined! Can’t you just feel yourself quake in fear of all those Others being in Australia?

I did some very basic calculations (omitting references but easily Googleable). Australia has one mosque for every 1360 Muslims. It’s pretty strange to compare this to Buddhism/Hinduism since what counts as a place of worship is very different for each religion. There’s no reason to expect the same ratio. For example Australia has one church for every 1650 Christians. But this probably has to do with there being a lot more secularised Christians in Australia than secularised Muslims. For now.

A more useful comparison would be the mosque per religious adherent ratio in other countries. Here are some countries with more mosques per capita than Australia: USA (1232), Turkey (906), India (573), Mexico (308), Indonesia (256 or 6.4 times more mosques per capita than Australia).

The reference to mosques being political entities is vacuous. Every public religious place will cross over into the political sphere at some point. What a great example of white, Christian privilege to ignore that churches are also political entities because they’re “us”/the status quo.

Most of the rest relies on ignorance about Islam or a wilful blindness to compare to other religions. Just think of these two statements: “What is taught in the mosque comes directly from the Quran” and “Teachings from certain mosques give cause for alarm”. How vapid would they sound if rephrased for Christianity? This is the othering, “we” get to distance ourselves from “our” clergy.

So the main techniques used are:

  • Conflating a specific religious group (ie. extremists) with “the religion” by relying on ignorance about the religion.
  • Alarmist out of context statistics that rely on racist fears about “them” coming to our neighbourhood.
  • Pointing out legitimate issues that also apply to the majority religion but that one gets a pass as part of the in-group.
  • Conspiracy-mongering.

Tomorrow we’ll look at how many of these techniques are used for anti-Jewish NIMBYism.