Below is a Press Release from Ballarat Interfaith Network's Public Relations Officer, Margaret Lenan Ellis, to Ballarat's daily newsopaper,The Courier, in relation to previously reported opposition to the building of a mosque in Ballarat. See previous comment on Beside The Creek here. ~~~~~~~~~
Express diversity in peace, understanding
By Margaret Lenan Ellis
Feb. 7, 2014, midnight
THE views expressed by Mike Holt of Restore Australia in The Courier on February 3 display attitudes which are unwanted and out of step in the 21st century.
This week marks the United Nations' celebration of World Interfaith Harmony Week, which Ballarat Interfaith Network, in conjunction with Ballarat City Council, marks each year with a community flag-raising event.
Religious bigotry and exclusionist attitudes belong in the past, the network says in response to the announcement by Restore Australia that it plans to letterbox people in Ballarat in an attempt to whip up opposition to the building of a mosque in Ballarat.
Ballarat Interfaith Network believes dialogue and conversation to be more effective in establishing social and religious harmony rather than publishing prejudiced statements designed to incite further prejudice.
They see greater benefit in building bridges of understanding, rather than in driving wedges of distrust between people of different faiths.
Ballarat Interfaith Network wants the Ballarat community to feel free to express its spiritual diversity in peace, harmony and understanding, and therefore endorses the building of Ballarat's first mosque in a community blessed with many churches.
In this United Nations World Interfaith Harmony Week, Ballarat Interfaith Network is pleased that the building of this simple mosque is to proceed and supports "our Islamic friends in this endeavour".