The government of the Sydney suburb of Waverly has refused to grant permission for the local Jewish community to begin construction of a new place of worship due to “concerns as to the safety and security of future users of the synagogue, nearby residents, motorists, and pedestrians.” Joe Hildebrand reports:
Jewish leaders are shocked that the decision appears to suggest they cannot freely practice their religion because they are the target of hate by Islamist extremists. . . . The head of the local Jewish community said the council and the court [that upheld its decision] had effectively stifled freedom of religion and rewarded terrorism.
“The decision is unprecedented,” Rabbi Yehoram Ulman [said]. “Its implications are enormous. It basically implies that no Jewish organization 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, . . . by extension rewarding terrorism.” . . .
Ironically, the council and the Land and Environment Court appeared to use the proposal’s own risk assessment and security measures in the proposed design—including setback buildings and blast walls—as evidence the site was too much of a security risk. Yet, in a classic catch-22, the council also said that if the design was changed to boost security, this would [also] be unacceptable because it would be too unsightly.
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