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.Monsignor Marriott
"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."