Tuesday, April 14, 2015

City of Greater Dandenong’s hijab push backfires

City of Greater Dandenong Council suffered a massive backlash after the Herald Sun reveal
City of Greater Dandenong Council suffered a massive backlash after the Herald Sun revealed the hijab “social experiment” last week. Picture: Chris Eastman

A LOCAL councillor has suggested that residents be encouraged to wear a crucifix for three hours to acknowledge Christianity.
Greater Dandenong’s Cr Maria Sampey made the comment following a backlash against thecouncil’s “social experiment” to encourage non-Muslim women to wear the hijab for three hours last week.
Fifteen women took up the invitation on Friday under a Youth Week initiative that included girls from a local Islamic school staffing an information table.
Cr Sampey said that councillors were not warned of the event and she was abused by residents after the Herald Sun reported the story.
“The question that’s been asked of me is, what activity is now going to take place as a means of promoting Christianity,” she told a council meeting on Monday night.
“Maybe people should be wearing a cross for three hours signifying Jesus Christ,” he said.
“We’ve got a lot of Indians wearing turbans and stuff like that and we’re representative of all groups that live in our city.”
Cr Sampey said she disagreed with the hijab experiment and believed councillors should be informed about such activities in advance.
But Greater Dandenong Mayor Cr Sean O’Reilly said that due to “practicalities and efficient operation”, councillors didn’t sign off on the detail of every program that staff implemented.
“Council is not oblivious to views in the community and will consider community feedback in the design and implementation of future programs,” he said.
Cr O’Reilly said the council had attracted significant commentary and media interest in the hijab experiment, which he described as “a small activity”.
“The intention of this activity in Youth Week was to set up a table and promote discussion of why women wear the hijab,” he said.
The mayor said that local youth faced many challenges and it was council’s role to help them express themselves, explore ideas and grow in confidence.
The suggestion was aimed at providing “awareness, insight and education”, but detractors labelled it divisive and political correctness gone mad.
Local Christian pastor and Rise Up Australia Party leader Danny Nalliah, who took part in last week’s Reclaim Australia rally, described the hijab event as the height of stupidity.
“I challenge the Greater Dandenong Council to call on the Muslim women to get rid of their hijabs for one week and assimilate into Australian way of life,” he said.
Dandenong council hijab, crucifix push to honour multicultural city | Herald Sun:



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