Government to Keep Close Watch on Islamic Schools, Mosques

August 25, 2005

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald

On August 25, 2005 The Sydney Morning Herald reported, "Intelligence agencies will monitor mosques, prayer halls and Islamic schools 'to the extent necessary' as part of the Federal Government's counter-terrorism policy, the Prime Minister said yesterday. John Howard made the remarks as Muslim groups excluded from this week's summit said they would hold the biggest gathering of Muslim leaders seen in NSW on September 11. The summit hosted by Mr Howard in Canberra on Tuesday denounced terrorism and called for community harmony and continuing dialogue about how to vet and train imams and promote Australian values in schools. But speaking on Perth radio, Mr Howard said the Government would be prepared to go further. Asked if authorities were prepared to 'get inside' mosques, prayer halls and schools to keep tabs on activities, he replied: 'Yes, to the extent necessary, yes'... Waleed Kadous, the convenor of the Australian Muslim Civil Rights Advocacy Network, said the comments were ill advised. 'It was a very poor choice of phrase,' he said. 'It's like the PM doesn't trust us.'"