Monday, 10 February 2014

The Mayor of Ballarat speaks in support of building the city's first mosque

From the newsletter of the Faith Communities Council of Victoria:

Ballarat Mayor speaks out in support of mosque construction

By Lily Partland, 3rd of February 2014, ABC Ballarat
The Ballarat Mayor Josh Morris responds to an anti-Islamic group's opposition to the construction of a mosque. Anti-Islamic group Restore Australia is encouraging Ballarat residents to protest against the development of a mosque in Canadian.
ballarat-mosqueBut the Ballarat Mayor Josh Morris says the city's growing cultural diversity should be celebrated.
"One of the best things about Australia is its religious and cultural diversity.
"It's really important to note that we as a city are growing, we as a city are becoming more diverse, and therefore there's going to be a need in our community for facilities that are going to meet the needs of our growing and diverse community."
The Islamic Society of Ballarat's plans to build the city's first mosque at 116 Elsworth Street East have been approved by the City of Ballarat, with the building expected to provide enough space for 150 people to pray (photo above shows the site of the proposed mosque in Elsworth Street Canadian).
Cr Morris says while elected representatives have a responsibility to take into account the views of the community, objections to planning applications on the basis of political ideology are irrelevant to the planning process.
"Irrespective of faith everybody has a right to a place of worship and that's something that I certainly respect and something that I believe as a society we should respect."
The Catholic Mayor says while living in the United Arab Emirates he was fortunate enough to have access to a Catholic church.
"I think it's really great that we see within an Islamic nation that there was welcoming of people of diverse faiths and people such as myself.
"So I think it's really important that within our society we're welcoming and understanding of everybody who lives here."
By Lily Partland, 3rd of February 2014, ABC Ballarat

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