Fair go for Muslims: Pell

"Muslims have a right to a fair go," Cardinal George Pell said yesterday after Camden City Council in Sydney's far west rejected a planning application for an Islamic school.

News.com.au reports Cardinal George Pell has weighed in to the row over an Islamic school in western Sydney, saying he has no objection to Muslim schools.

Camden Council had earlier voted unanimously against a proposal to build an Islamic school for 1,200 students, citing various issues including traffic problems.

The decision would taint Australia's multicultural image, the Islamic Council of NSW warned yesterday.

Speaking at a World Youth Day media conference, the Archbishop of Sydney said Muslims deserved a fair go.

Cardinal Pell told media he always encouraged people to be open to the rights of people from all faiths.

"Everybody in Australia has the right to a fair go, so do the Muslims," he said. "We certainly believe in religious schools."

A Muslim youth worker told reporters the Camden Council decision, condemned as racist by one Islamic group, would not give a bad impression of Sydney to pilgrims visiting for World Youth Day.

Mazem Bakhour, a representative from the Lebanese Muslim Association, said the school issue should not cause a problem for the Catholic youth event.

"I guess, at the end of the day, to the Muslim community, World Youth Day is about unity between religions," he said.

"That's what we are going to focus on ... mainly just trying to focus on seeing the similarities between faiths."


Muslim schools deserve fair go - Pell (News.com.au, 28/5/08)


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