FULL COVERAGE: Bendigo mosque: Emotion fuels debate
FOR those with a faith, a place of worship is a sign of something beyond them.
It is a place where communities are created.
This is the message from Bendigo's Sacred Heart Cathedral Monsignor Frank Marriott, who said a place of worship gave people a focus - something that should be afforded to Muslims as well as any other religion.
"Some people tell you that you can pray on top of a gum tree and this is true," he said.
"But these buildings give religions a sense of community and it strengthens prayer life and the worshipping life of an individual.
I will say again that I believe it's time for an inter-faith council in Bendigo.
"I welcome the genuine Muslim community to Bendigo and ask people to respect one another."
Monsignor Marriott said his faith wasn't threatened by the prospect of a mosque in Bendigo.
He said he didn't have the answer to several "big demonstrations" in Bendigo, including the anti-mosque fear and anti-Catholic brochures that were recently put on parishioners' cars.
"It's a bit confronting that we have fires on many levels and I'm not sure if it's genuine or orchestrated or fair dinkum fears," he said.
"But I will say again that I believe it's time for an inter-faith council in Bendigo, lead by the example in Shepparton, to bring all religions together.
"It won't happen overnight but we are actively trying to promote that."