Camden: A town's dirty secret

Symbol … a large wooden crucifix had been erected at the school's proposed site.

November 11, 2007

REAL-ESTATE agents on Sydney's south-western outskirts held a secret meeting over a controversial proposal to build an Islamic school at Camden, The Sun-Herald can reveal.

Property industry sources and concerned residents said agents at Wednesday night's meeting debated the issue of selling homes to Muslim families wanting to relocate to the area.

The news comes as some residents voiced outrage about the school, with at least three businesses organising petitions against the Quranic Society bid to build Camden College, a combined primary and high school with 1200 students ...

The manager of Sinclairs newsagency and pharmacy in Camden, Kate Robbins, said the shop had a petition with 12 pages of signatures opposing the school, before an unknown woman grabbed the document and left the store.

"We called the police," she said. "We don't know who she was. We don't know if she was a Muslim and what if they get our names and addresses?

"This isn't about race, but why can't they go to a school with our kids? We don't want them here building a school just for them. Pretty much everyone who comes in here agrees and signs the petition."

A large wooden crucifix had been erected at the school's proposed site, accompanied by a Bible passage that reads: "David and Goliath. The battle is won. This is the King of Kings Land. Prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. (Eph 6:18)."

Residents appalled by the protests have ripped down signs and banners that read "No Muslims".

Adding to the anti-Muslim sentiment are rumours circulating in the town that a mosque is planned for the old Camden High School site and Muslims have been trying to buy up local shops ...

"There has been an emotional response to this issue but it is outright prejudice against Muslims," he said. "In the next 30 years the population in Camden will increase from 50,000 to 215,000.