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Australia Vetoes Construction Of A New Mosque

From the Australian:

Current Mosque in Adelaide

Canberra vetoes mosque

January 09, 2007

ISLAMIC leaders are demanding an explanation from Foreign Minister Alexander Downer after plans for the Saudi Government to invest in the construction of an Adelaide mosque were vetoed by Canberra.

The Foreign Minister revealed yesterday that the Government objected to a proposal for Saudi cash to be injected into development of the new mosque, which is believed to be located at Park Holme in Adelaide’s southern suburbs.

Mr Downer said federal authorities had also been investigating broad concerns on funding sourced from the Middle East after concerns that mosques could become breeding grounds for extremists.

"Obviously we don’t want to see any extremist organisation penetrate into Australia," he said.

But Ali Vachor, secretary of the Islamic Society of South Australia, which manages the Park Holme mosque, told The Australian the decision had halted construction of the building. Mr Vachor said a "great portion" of funding for the development was being sourced from overseas and had not been approved. "What was required from the overseas party for them to send the money was permission from the Government, the concerned Government to sign a piece of paper," Mr Vachor said.

Construction was halted after the laying of a concrete slab and prayers are being conducted in a recreation room. Mr Vachor said yesterday the Islamic Society of South Australia would seek an urgent meeting with Mr Downer to determine the reasons behind the Government’s decision.

The mosque is the same holy place used by Iraqi Kurd Warya Kanie, who came to Australia as a refugee in 2003 and was granted citizenship two years later. Mr Vachor said Mr Kanie, being held by coalition forces in Iraq, regularly attended the Park Holme mosque. Mr Kanie, 39, told his family in Adelaide that he was going to look for a wife, but he allegedly told a friend that he was leaving Australia "to go on jihad". Mr Kanie was captured by coalition forces in Baghdad in mid-October. He has since been held as a security detainee for allegedly engaging in anti-coalition activities.

"There is a prima facie case apparently, according to the Iraqi authorities and coalition forces there," Mr Downer said.

The Foreign Minister said the Government had discussed funding of mosques in Australia with the Saudi Government "in particular". He said: "This is of course a matter that goes back well before 9/11.

"There has been concern internationally, not specifically to Australia, about some elements in Saudi Arabia which is the heartland of Wahibbism and Sufism … trying to spread that particular extremist interpretation of Islam.

"Historically the Saudi Arabian Government has provided funding (to overseas mosques), I’m not saying there’s anything illegitimate about that … but we can obviously express a view to the Saudi Arabian Government."

Mr Downer said Mr Kanie and the Park Holme mosque’s funding were "not related" to the best of his knowledge.

It sounds like Australia is waking up to the threat of Islam.

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, January 8th, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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