from Larry Pickering
Bendigo residents will know of a certain Mr Donald Erskine who appears to own, or have his fingers in, much of everything that ticks in the city.
Earlier annual reports of Bendigo Bank state that Donald Erskine is or was a Bendigo-based director of the bank. Members of his family are employed by the bank.
The board and management are digging in for a fight to gain approval for the Bendigo mega-mosque and Mr Erskine and the bank have been able to get the Bendigo Press onside. This has left those opposing the mosque with an uphill battle.
In an unprecedented move the bank showed its determination that the mosque be built by cancelling the accounts of all those who are opposed to the mosque, stating it had the right to decide who its clients were and that the bank was “promoting racial tolerance”. Hmmm.
The mosque is designed to provide for 1,000 prayer mats yet, according to the 2011 census, Bendigo (which includes the areas of Castlemaine, Heathcote, Pyramid Hill and Kyneton) supports only 263 Islamic residents within that entire area.
So it appears Bendigo residents can look forward to half Victoria responding to Fridays’ wailing calls to prayer.
Digging deeper it seems Mr Erskine also has an interest in the land adjacent to the proposed mosque on which there is an application to council for subdivision.
On its register of shareholders, Bendigo Bank doesn’t have to declare any holdings over 5 per cent so it’s also interesting to note that the register shows Mr Erskine’s “direct” interest as zero but an “indirect” holding by Erskine Investments Pty Ltd of 840,000 shares.
But there is one obnoxious little potential terrorist who is also determined that the mosque goes ahead, the Australian born Zaky Mallah (pictured).
In 2005 the AFP claimed he planned a suicide attack on offices in Sydney. Mallah was charged under the counter-terrorism laws and jailed in the maximum security multi-purpose unit at Goulburn for two years before being acquitted of the charge.
Sentencing Judge Wood CJ, concluded that: “The prisoner was an idiosyncratic, and embittered young man, who was to all intents something of a loner, without significant prospects of advancing himself. While I accept that the prisoner enjoyed posing as a potential martyr, and may from time, to time, in his own imagination, have contemplated creating a siege and taking the lives of others, I am satisfied that in his more rational moments he lacked any genuine intention of doing so.”
The number of clairvoyant judges seems to be increasing.
In 2011 Zaky Mallah was sacked from his job at ANZ Stadium for broadcasting a video of areas of the Stadium on Youtube. The videos included shots of the VIP private dining room, and the kitchen. It was claimed he was again planning a suicide mission, but he has not been charged due to inconclusive evidence.
Mallah has been active in recruiting other Australian Lebanese to fight overseas. He recently travelled to Syria but returned saying he was just there to “have a look” and to have his photo taken with Al Queda combatants but did not fire his weapon. Hmmm.
In 2013 he was again arrested and charged for posting instructions on how to join jihad and boasting of his glowing experiences of life on the frontline in Syria.
Mallah, now 29, proudly claims that ASIO says he is potentially Australia’s first suicide bomber.
Since being charged he has toned down his rhetoric but his “impassioned” plea for the building of the Bendigo Mosque can be seen here:
“Watch this video and Shudder”
Try not to throw your coffee mug at the monitor.
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