Excerpt:

Local councils around Australia have been warned they risk imposing a "ghetto mentality" on the Islamic community if they continue to oppose religious projects such as the controversial proposals to build Islamic schools at Camden and Bass Hill.

The warning was issued yesterday by the founder of the Islamic Friendship Society, Keysar Trad, as he opened a prayer centre at St Marys.

Mr Trad said the centre, which took 3½ years to be approved by Penrith City Council, will participate in a number of multi-faith and community events, such as Clean Up Australia Day.

Asked about recent controversies surrounding other developments - such as a proposal for a Muslim school at Camden and a stalled project by sportsmen Anthony Mundine and Hazem El Masri to convert a church into a mosque in Canterbury - he said their rejection would hurt his community.


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