Community response positive, says local muslim spokesman
THE COMMUNITY response to plans for a Bendigo mosque has been overwhelmingly positive, Muslim community spokesman Heri Febriyanto says.
A Facebook page was set up in a bid to stop the mosque from being built, which was followed by a page supporting the project.
The anti-mosque page has about twice the members of the pro-mosque page.
Mr Febriyanto said members of the anti-mosque group were entitled to their opinion, but suggested there was false information being published.
“People have a right to hold their views,” he said.
“That is a fundamental part of Australian culture.
“We would just encourage anyone who has questions whether about the centre or Islam in general to reach out and ask us rather than rely on the misinformation.
“There has been some opposition voiced but this is to be expected and we hope, in time, to be able to reach out to those people and engage with them to try and show them that their concerns are not warranted.”
The City of Greater Bendigo is seeking further information on the $3 million Rowena Street proposal.
Several residents on Rohs Road have expressed concern about traffic and noise from the site, and a 25 metre minaret tower may not comply with airport regulations.
Mr Febriyanto said there was no timeline on the development.
“As per council’s request, we are currently preparing information in relation to the design and development of the proposal,” he said.
“Preparation of a Traffic Impact Assessment is also underway.
“All this information will be forwarded to council in due course for further assessment of the proposal.
“Once the design of the proposal is finalised and accepted by council, we hope that council would then be able to undertake the public consultation process as soon as possible.”
Mr Febriyanto said while there would be “very little for a non-Muslim to do inside the mosque”, all would be welcome.
"There is nothing preventing any individual entering a mosque, whether they are Muslim or not," he said.
“Most mosque communities would in fact welcome such visits and encourage them as a way to build ties."