Melbourne, 3 Jumadil Awal 1434/14 March 2013 (MINA) – Overcoming a vicious campaign against their worship place, jubilant Muslims are celebrating the approval of a new mosque in Australia’s most populous city of Melbourne.
“That’s what we plan to do,” Sherene Hassan, spokeswoman for the applicants, was cited by The Age newspaper. “But we haven’t felt much love from this group.” Plans for building a new mosque in Melbourne was approved by the Casey Council planning committee on Tuesday.
By 9-1 vote, councilors backed an officer’s report recommending a permit, against a background of stiff objection from neighbors.
The Muslim worship place, to be constructed next to the church and headquarters of Catch the Fire Ministries, is expected to be built within weeks.
The planned mosque in Green street in Doveton has invited strong opposition from residents.
Residents have sent more than 1900 signatures and 30 letters to the council in protest against the $2.5 million Afghan Mosque Project in an effort to block a permit for the building.
Opponents, including Daniel Nalliah of the anti-Islam Rise Up Australia Party, argue that the mosque would cause noise pollution and traffic jams, accusing Muslims of “preaching hatred”.
“It is out of character with the neighborhood,” Councilor Rosalie Crestani, who voted against the mosque, said.
“I believe there will be problems enforcing permit conditions, especially linked to crowd numbers and parking in streets.”
The mosque committee wanted to relocate from Photinia St and avoid complaints about car parking, crowds and noise there.
Director of Archivision, Louie Asiaee, also supported the permit application, saying an industrial zone was chosen in a bid to avoid complaints of the type experienced in Photinia St.
Despite vocal opposition to the mosque, the approval of the planning committee showed a majority support for the worship place.
Councilor Wayne Smith said he believed as many people favored the mosque going ahead. “But those opposed have been more vocal,” he said.
“I accept all the views I have heard, but we must be bound by planning laws and I believe that means supporting issue of a permit in this case.”
However, he did not expect the mosque opposition to accept the decision to approve the the Muslim worship place.
“This issue will probably go to Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) for resolution.”
According to OnIslam report monitored by Mi’raj News Agency (MINA), The building of mosques has been facing growing public opposition in several Western countries. In the United States, at least 35 mosque projects have found foes, who battle to stop them from seeing light citing different pretexts, including traffic concerns and fear of terrorism.
Building mosques was also meeting opposition in several European countries as France, Italy and Spain.
In Switzerland, Swiss voters supported a referendum to ban the building of mosque minarets in the country.
Muslims, who have been in Australia for more than 200 years, make up 1.7 percent of its 20-million population. Islam is the country’s second largest religion after Christianity.
In post 9/11 Australia, Muslims have been haunted with suspicion and have had their patriotism questioned.
A 2007 poll taken by the Issues Deliberation Australia (IDA) think-tank found that Australians basically see Islam as a threat to the Australian way of life.
A recent governmental report revealed that Muslims are facing deep-seated Islamophobia and race-based treatment like never before. (T/P05/E1)
Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)