Sci-tech

Australian Community Bans Synagogue Construction Because Terrorists Might Target It

Australian Community Bans Synagogue Construction Because Terrorists Might Target It”

A LOCAL council has banned the construction of a synagogue in Bondi because it could be a terrorist target, in a shock move that religious leaders say has caved in to Islamic extremism and created a unsafe precedent.

The Land and Environment Court in Sydney, Australia has upheld a decision by the local Waverly Council blocking the construction of a new synagogue at a site just a few hundreds meters from Bondi Beach.

The original application to the council was made by the Friends of Refugees of Eastern Europe (FREE), a Jewish organization run by Chabad, a Hasidic sect of Judaism.

The court heard "strong anti-Semitic undertones pervade much of ISIS's online presence and literature" had "manifested itself in both attacks and prevented attacks that have been aimed at Jewish communities in various parts of the world". The area is near popular tourist destination Bondi Beach.

In a statement published in Australia's Daily Telegraph, Rabbi Yehoram Ulman pointed out "The decision is unprecedented". It basically implies that no Jewish organisation should be allowed to exist in residential areas. "It stands to stifle Jewish existence and activity in Sydney and indeed, by creating a precedent, the whole of Australia, and by extension rewarding terrorism", he stated.

In a statement Friday, the Waverley Council asserted that the decision to reject the synagogue was made by a local land use court, which said the congregation had not addressed the security concerns raised by the congregation in its development application.

While the applicants argued that any threat would be focused exclusively on their synagogue, Commissioner Graham Brown held in his decision, "It would seem that a more sophisticated risk assessment process could be required for matters such as a potential terrorist threat".

The shock decision by a planning committee to deny permission for the construction of a new synagogue in Sydney on the grounds that it would be a security risk has "effectively placed in jeopardy the future of Jewish life in Australia", a prominent Jewish critic of the move said on Thursday.

Other Jewish leaders echoed the alarm, calling the decision unacceptable and disturbing.

"The threat of Islamist terrorism is directed at everyone, not only the Jewish community". If this is the road we are taking we have become a pack of cowards.

"This simply shows how we're all losing our freedoms".

NSW Jewish Board of Deputies boss Vic Alhadeff told news.com.au the ruling set a "dangerous precedent".

"In today's climate, many communities are required to take security precautions, as are public institutions such as police, emergency departments, government buildings and a range of other facilities", he said. "Those who want us to be afraid are winning, and this ill-conceived judgment represents a unsafe precedent".



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