A public meeting yesterday was told it was time to start serious campaigning against the establishment of a $70 million, 1200 student Islamic school on the outskirts of Mareeba.

More than 140 residents resolved to call on the Mareeba Shire Council and the State Government to disallow the construction of the proposed Standard Bearers Academy on its 96 acre Tinaroo Creek Road property.

Although proponents of the SBA have described the school as “multi-denominational” members of the audience expressed concerns that the dominant theme of the curriculum would be Islamic views.

A committee was formed to spearhead the upcoming battle, which after the meeting, named the new body Estop Islamic School Mareeba (EISM).

Since the first public information meeting held by the Standard Bearers Academy two weeks ago a Townsville grandmother created a Facebook page, ‘STOP the $70m Islamic BOYS Boarding School’ that has gone viral.

Meeting convenor Kim Vuga said more than 4000 comments on the Facebook page “…are a clear indication of what a lot of Far North people are thinking.”

“We held a meeting in Cairns yesterday and 65 people turned up, which was great because we only expected about 20,” Mrs Vuga said.

“Most people I have communicated with do not want this school because of its potential to influence young people in the north with the Muslim agenda.

“There are 340 mosques and prayer halls in Australia but the Muslim faith represents only about 2 per cent of the population.

“Already we have Halal food being served in the Aitkenvale State School tuckshop and head scarfs are also for sale.”

“What is next? Free prayer mats?”

The meeting elected Mareeba retiree Alan Webb as chairman, Irene Timpone as secretary and Brian Ottewill will be the Treasurer. Kim Vuga will continue as social media spokeswoman and researcher.

A former member of the Mareeba Muslim community Mr George Adil told the meeting local Muslims do not support the school and knew nothing about it until an article recently appeared in a newspaper.

“They want nothing to do with it,” Mr Adil said.

Chairman-elect Mr Alan Webb said another public meeting would be called before Christmas to discuss strategy and fundraising.

“I am disappointed none of our council or political representatives came to learn of resident’s concerns,” Mr Webb said. ends

At the meeting were Mick Sexton, Mareeba; Alan Webb, Chairman; Kim Vuga, Convenor and Sam Musumeci, Mareeba