Paul Weston, Courier Mail, October 23, 2011
The battle to stop a mosque being built in a Gold Coast hinterland estate is turning nasty, with a pig’s head posted on a fence and signs publicising the Islamic project vandalised.
The Sunday Mail believes police were called after a pig’s head splattered with red paint was hung on a fence at the site.
The incident has sparked fears of a protracted hate campaign against the Muslim community.
The words “terrorists” and “Go back to Afghanistan” were scribbled across planning signs outside the property in Alkira Way at Worongary.
A resident, who asked not to be named, told The Sunday Mail: “This place will become a war zone. There are old people living here who are scared.”
Police at Mudgeeraba were called to remove the pig’s head and have spoken to residents about the unrest in their quiet rural suburb.
“We’re aware of an incident at that address. We are continuing to investigate,” a police spokesman said.
Concerned neighbours said developers arrived in BMWs with security guards, when they first attended a packed protest meeting to discuss their planning application to the Gold Coast City Council.
Property records show that until March 2009, a four-bedroom home on the 8263sq m site in Alkira Way had been on the market with an asking price of $1.15 million. Photographs used in advertising the home showed its tranquil rural setting.
Residents understand the owners later entered an agreement with a company linked to the Islamic Multicultural Association conditional on council ruling that the home could be used as place of worship and a caretaker’s unit be built beside it.
Council planners recommended approval, noting the house exterior would not be changed. However, after receiving a record 1600-signature petition and 539 public objections, councillors voted against the Islamic Multicultural Association application last December.
An appeal will lead to a hearing at the Southport Court starting late next month, which residents suspect they will lose unless the court is convinced of their safety concerns.