How Sonia Kruger dragged Toowoomba into racism row

AN outburst by former Toowoomba woman and now-celebrity Sonia Kruger isn't the first time the Garden City has been caught up in a racism row.

The Today Show host weighed in on the issue of Muslim immigration after an article written by conservative columnist Andrew Bolt.

Sonia Kruger speaks about Muslim immigration.
Sonia Kruger speaks about Muslim immigration.

1. Sonia Kruger

Toowoomba-born Kruger said while she had "peace-loving, beautiful Muslim friends" she agreed with Mr Bolt's stance that Muslim immigration should be banned.

Many social media users have tied her back to Toowoomba and questioned the Garden City's attitude towards Muslims.

Jadey David wrote ironically about the link between road deaths and cars, saying they should also be banned.

She also called for an inquest into the Toowoomba region.

"1,209 was the road toll in Australia last year. There is a clear correlation between cars and death. I think it's time we banned the operation of motor vehicles in Australia.

"By doing this we can guarantee the safety of every Australian.

"I know nothing about this subject. Much like Sonia Kruger knows nothing, nor is qualified to speak, comment or advise on the subject of immigration.

"Sonia Kruger is a TV personality, whose qualifications go as far as an arts degree and some dance teaching.

"Pauline Hanson is from Ipswich which is 90kms from Toowoomba where Sonia Kruger comes from.

"I think it's time for an inquest into the region due to the political ideologies that they are emerging from the white people in the area."

The E.S.
The E.S. "Nigger" Brown Stand sign in Toowoomba continues to create controversy. Kevin Farmer

2. Nigger Brown Stand

In the 1960s a grandstand in Toowoomba's main football stadium, the Toowoomba Sports Ground, was named the 'E S "Nigger" Brown Stand' in honour of footballer Edwin Stanley "Nigger" Brown.

Toowoomba academic and aboriginal activist Stephen Hagan launched a case with the Queensland's Anti-Discrimination Tribunal over the stand's name saying it was racist.

The grandstand was demolished in September and Toowoomba Sports Ground Inc agreed not to use the "offensive word" in any future tributes to the footballer.

The stand was demolished in 2008.

(POOL).Fire investigator inside the fire destroyed Toowoomba Mosque. Pic POLICE MEDIA (POOL)
(POOL).Fire investigator inside the fire destroyed Toowoomba Mosque. Pic POLICE MEDIA (POOL) Darren England

3. Mosque attacks

There were two separate arson attacks against Toowoomba's only mosque last year.

The first attack in January damaged a prayer hall and the second left the building uninhabitable.

Toowoomba Mayor Paul Antonio said at the time the attacks threatened the city's reputation for peace and harmony.

4. Woggies

To some the word wog is a term of endearment, to others it's a racist slur.

But when Toowoomba restaurant Woggies made national headlines its owners were shocked.

In 2014 owner Donna Rognoni was thrust into the national spotlight by the name and was contacted by television broadcasters and interstate radio stations.

Habiba Gwonya has experienced racism since arriving in Toowoomba with her family in 2007.
Habiba Gwonya has experienced racism since arriving in Toowoomba with her family in 2007. Bev Lacey

5. Banana peel

Habiba Gwonya was taking out a rubbish bin last year when she was approached by two men in a car.

She thought they were looking for directions but instead they yelled abuse and told her to "go back where you come from".

The men then threw a banana peel at her.

Ms Gwonya said incidents like that left her feeling excluded from the community.

6. Rugby league

Dalby Junior Rugby League was forced to investigate an incident of racism after an Under-16s rugby league game this year.

Dalby Junior Rugby League president Brett Hunter said the investigation centred on allegations of a derogatory comment made by a spectator or spectators.

Stacey Colil Jordy said her 16-year-old son Coen was left "in tears" after the on-field incident spiralled into racial abuse.

A poll asking if Toowoomba was a racist city was split, with 55% saying yes and 44% no.



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