Mosque plan opponents come forward

ABOUT 40 objections have been lodged against a mosque planned for Bendigo, with one submission supporting the development.

Plans for the $3 million Rowena Street project have been lodged with the City of Greater Bendigo.

The Stop the Mosque in Bendigo Facebook page, which has 4700 members, has promoted a council objection form and encouraged people to fill it out.

The page encourages residents to make their opposition to the project known to council, with one post encouraging people to bury a dead pig onsite to halt the development.

The next stage of the process will be for the council to consider all the submissions and decide the best way to further engage the community.

The engagement consultation phase is likely to start within the next month.

Mosque spokesman Heri Febriyanto said those behind the proposal welcomed all views and said there had been support for the project from other religious leaders.

“We’re living in Australia,” he said.

“I think it’s part of our culture and custom to have respect for everyone.

“Everyone has the right to have their expression, we have a right to do that by law.”

Mr Febriyanto said he had mainly heard from people who supported the development.

“In the community they’re saying the majority of people are supporting the project,” he said.

“People are contacting me happy to support it, mostly from leaders of any religion.”

He said there was no timeline for the mosque, which he said would be built in four stages.

The building, which included a proposed community hall and sporting facilities, could take several years to complete, Mr Febriyanto said.

Administrators for the Facebook page again refused to comment.

A page supporting the mosque has attracted 2700 likes.

The page, titled I Fully Support the Establishment of a Mosque in Bendigo, calls for support for multiculturalism and says all are welcome in the city. 

According to the 2011 census, the Bendigo has about 263 Islamic residents. 

The statistics cover Bendigo, Castlemine, Heathcote, Pyramid Hill and Kyneton. 

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