Media Release on Friday 31st October, 2014 by Greens member and candidate for Londonderry at the 2015 State Election, Shane Gorman.
Greens Candidate for Londonderry Shane Gorman commends a recent Penrith City Council decision to support a complying development for a prayer hall on Mamre Road, Kemps Creek.
North Ward Penrith City Councillor Marcus Cornish believes that the building of mosques in the Penrith area will be an irreversible change to the fabric of life in Penrith. Well certainly according to Marcus Cornish, but since growing up, going through school and working with the community for a number of years now, I am at a loss to what exactly he is suggesting?
Perhaps he is suggesting that increased traffic flow towards Kemps creek might be the problem? or that Penrith is already overcrowded with places of religious worship? However i get the impression that Marcus doesn’t want Islam to be a part of the big picture that makes up the Penrith way of life.
It is clear that Australia is having growing pains in the form of ongoing cultural tension between Islamic and Anglo Australians. It’s delusional to think that inaction and idealism is an effective way of dealing with such a divisive challenge, but neither is outcasting and all but completely oppressing such a large part of our community.
Penrith desperately needs real and open dialogue on some of the complex challenges we face TOGETHER as a community. What we don’t need is the perpetuation of hate, intolerance and bigotry. Islam doesn’t threaten Penrith, in fact the diversity it brings strengthens it. What threatens Penrith is Councillor Cornishs’ insensitive words, which divide and continues to stir intolerance. Councillor Cornish seems to have Islam confused with religious, ideological and political extremism. Which along with his generalisations, actually threaten our community.
Councillor Cornish is not opposing the construction of a mosque, he is opposing the reality that Islam; much like Christianity, Atheism,Sikhism and Buddhism, is a part of the Penrith way of life, while illegitimising the importance of Muslims in our community by doing so. Consider for a moment if Councillor Cornish was opposing the construction of a Church? He has crossed the line between just representation and actively oppressing those within our community.
Councillor Cornish is no doubt a good person and I have seen him stand up for Penrith on some very important matters such as the Fernhill development, however he has failed to consider the diversity of the Penrith community and it’s culture as it is now in 2014.
I ask Councillor Cornish to accept Penrith for what and who it has become, it has changed a lot over the years and will continue to change for years to come. Lastly I also ask Councillor Cornish to remember: “Hate begets hate” And hate is not part of the Penrith way of life.