Penrith Council met last night (December 8) to discuss a rescission motion put by councillor Marcus Cornish regarding the construction of a Muslim community centre at Kemps Creek. (See : Against the far right; against Islamophobia: Rally in Penrith, December 8, December 2, 2014.) On December 7, Cornish posted the following message on Facebook, asking his supporters to bring “presents” to the meeting:
For batshit invective, however, I’ve not read anything quite as superb as the ADL’s declaration of war upon “the evil anarcho-pinko-anarchist-islamic cabal of dirt”:
Unfortunately for the Islamophobes, the motion was voted down 9 to 4, with councillors Bernard Bratusa (Independent), Prue Car (Labor), Greg Davies (Labor), Ben Goldfinch (Independent), Jackie Greenow (Independent), Tricia Hitchen (Independent, ex-Liberal), Karen McKeon (Labor), John Thain (Labor) and Michelle Tormey (Greens) voting ‘no’ and councillors Marcus Cornish (Independent), Kevin Crameri (Independent), Mark Davies (Independent, ex-Liberal) and Maurice Girotto (Independent, ex-Australia First Party) voting ‘yes’.
The meeting was also the subject of two rallies, ‘for’ or ‘against’ the proposed development, with the participation of the Australia First Party (AFP — below), Australian Defence League (ADL), Party for Freedom and Squadron 88 on one side and, consequently, various anarchists, antifascists, anti-racists et al on the other. Penrith locals found themselves on both sides of the equation.
Blogger Preston Towers provides a detailed account of the meeting and protests in Sharia Bushfire and Flood – Penrith Council Meeting No.2 about the Community Centre as well as another of the previous, November 24 meeting in Sewerage and Traffic – Veiled Racism Continuing against Muslims in Penrith. See also : Tensions rise as council approves Islamic community centre, Josh Dye, The Sydney Morning Herald, December 9, 2014 | Protesters clash as Sydney Islamic prayer hall approved, SBS, December 9, 2014 | Islamic prayer hall in Sydney’s west approved as rival groups protest, Allan Clarke and Mohamed Taha, ABC, December 9, 2014 | Penrith Council gives green light to Kemps Creek Islamic community centre, Penrith Press/The Australian, December 8, 2014.
The Black Flag – Western Sydney Peoples Collective, one of the groups involved in organising to oppose the far right presence at Penrith, issued the following statement after the evening’s events:
Sorry for the black out for the past hour, we had a lot of stuff to carry on the way out. After a number of ANTIFA were threatened with arrest by the cops if we stayed, we left in a large block. The fascists behind us shouted they had won the day, yet our comrades who stayed behind at the #Penrith council meeting have informed us that the vote to build the community centre has been upheld!
For all of their posturing about Jihadists, Sharia Law and other such nonsense levied against a peaceful migrant community they have failed. They might say that they have won today but for the third time they have rallied to stop Muslims from associating freely, and for the third time they have failed. So long as good people are willing to stand up to evil ideologies, they will always fail.
So long as good people are willing to stand up to evil ideologies, they will always fail. #ANTIFA
In terms of the far right presence, it seems as if Ross ‘The Skull’ May did not attend, despite having attended on November 24 and promising violence at the December 8 meeting (in a now-deleted video published by Squadron 88 on YouTube). About 6 or so members of Squadron 88 attended and a handful of these are featured in some of the state/corporate media reportage (though are not mentioned by name):
TO BE CONTINUED …