CONTROVERSIAL plan to build a mosque in Bendigo has been given the green light despite an unprecedented number of objections and protests against the influence of Islam.
Campaigners against the $3 million mosque have written a letter of demand to Planning Minister Matthew Guy and are yet to rule out taking their fight to VCAT. (Herald Sun)
Note the heavy police presence at the meeting.Â Bendigo Advertiser website has a 10 minute video from last night’s meeting.
Not sure if the heavy police presence was needed to protect Muslims and the corrupt Bendigo city councillors from the mostly elderly, concerned residents, or if the police was needed to protect the residents from the wrath of allah.
A $3 million mosque has been approved in East Bendigo amid fury from a group of residents who demanded to know what “safety measures” had been taken to prevent a terrorist attack in the regional centre.
The controversial plan was brought to a head on Wednesday night, when councillors voted 6-2 to approve the building be used for daily prayers, community lectures and weddings.
Vocal protesters, some carrying placards, packed the chamber for two hours of fierce debate over the Rowena Street proposal. One woman asked the councillors if they would be able to sleep at night if Islam “descended” on Bendigo.
One councillor also read out letters which voiced fears about Islam. Cr Elise Chapman repeated comments around Muslims having more children than Australians do.
When another councillor, MarkÂ Weragoda, was speaking in favour of the proposal one of the protesters played Middle Eastern music.
When Cr Weragoda said the mosque would be used for funerals and marriages, a member of the gallery replied: “yeah, to young girls”.
Following the ugly meeting, a spokesman for the mosque developer, Munshi Nawaz, and said it was “fine” that people had expressed such strong views, as there was a lot of misinformationÂ surrounding the mosque.
“It was to be expected and I don’t think the views heard tonight really represent how Bendigo feels about Islam as a religion,” he said.
“I have lived in Bendigo for six years and am welcomed by the (unsuspecting) community.”
The state member for Bendigo East, Jacinta Allan, said the views of the “mob” did not represent the majority of the local community. In fact, she said some of the protesters did not even come from Bendigo.
“I think the councillors who stared down intolerance should be applauded,” she said.
“The general view [on the mosque] is that it’s just a planning matter that should be treated like any other planning matter.”
The project, funded by the Australian Islamic Mission, (Muslim Brotherhood) Â attracted more than 400 objections. Many of the submitters based their opposition on religious grounds, including fears the mosque would create of a Muslim “enclave” and a drop in house prices.
However council officers concluded there was no reason not to grant the permit for the two-storey mosque with a minaret, subject to a number of conditions.
“The weight of objections received is not of in itself sufficient reason to refuse any planning application,” the officers wrote.
The planning report found that the proposal would provide a “net benefit” by providing cultural facilities for the community.
Islam doesn’t have a culture; it is a cult. It is of no benefit to any community.
A Facebook page “No Mosque in Bendigo” has attracted more than 7000 “likes” and is littered with comments from people who believe Muslims plan to “take over” Australia.
That’s the intention. And no newspaper scribbler and no corrupt city council in Australia or elsewhere can change this fact.
The next steps in the Bendigo mega mosque case will most likely be the following:
1. Prepare the appeal against the planning application at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).
2. Secure funding for the legal process, which will be costly and may not end with VCAT. The tribunal is not the last stop. However, to appeal a VCAT decision the objecting party first needs to seek leave to appeal with the Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court, depending on who pr…