Posted 19 June 2014

The small district of bendigo, near Melbourne, Australia, is the latest war zone to be hit with shells and fighting, over a proposed mosque.

Bendigo Mosque

BREAKING NEWS: 18 June 2014
200-300 People lined the walls to hear this Council approve the Bendigo mosque planning permit.
Then a NO CONFIDENCE vote in the Council was called from the residents in the gallery and carried unanimously—the gallery had quorum.Concerned Citizens arrived early and wore red ribbons as a symbol of unity—an appeal drawing on the Red Ribbon Rebellion of Bendigo in 1853 against local government injustice—seeking a JUST Council decision tonight.Looking around the room the sea of red ribbons defined each person’s resolute stand.
The Pro-mosque students who came to kick up a storm were intimidated into silence for most of the meeting. It was a vigorous debate and commentary from the concerned citizens gallery continually filling in the facts to ignorant councillors.The Gallery wanted Council consultation with the Community that had been denied throughout this process. A recorded total of 437 objections had been received by Council—the highest in Bendigo’s recent history. Our hope was for a motion for a stay of two months to achieve this. Instead the majority of Councillors denied the motion to enable consultation. After much vigorous interjecting from the gallery the motion to push the FLAWED planning application through with imposed limitations was accepted by Council.
The reason they stated for the “push through” was that —further delays would have resulted in a VCAT charge being brought against the council for delaying proceedings by AIM. So instead of addressing pages of planning anomalies brought up by concerned citizens in my opinion bordering on corruption.At the final vote to finally pass planning permission, the close to 300 people present stood and voted unanimously to a vote of no confidence in the Council and followed Councillors Chapman and Leach out of the Town Hall.It was a stunning travesty of justice to see executed with such deliberate intent.The vote came down to 2 “against” to the rest of the council “for”.However true heroes of the evening were Councillor Helen Leach who like a statesman put forward the truth in a succinct and knowledgable way and Lisa Chapman who spoke with sincerity and heart.

Our admiration for these two Councillors was full.But those opposing the proposal have lost this round

It now has to moved to VCAT as Balzola said it would.
But the mood was not defeat but of extreme buoyancy as residents broke off to go to the pub for a beer and plot next moves and there were plenty of suggestions as only country folk know how to niggle authorities. Is is all OVER?…no the battle has just begun.

Support for the mosque throughout the community has come from a range of quarters

Bendigo’s Sacred Heart Cathedral Monsignor Frank Marriott has called for greater tolerance and harmony among religious groups

He said an inter-faith council would help the different faiths work through a degree of understanding.

“This proposal demands a fairly important response,” he said.

The Great Stupa of Universal Compassion’s Ian Green said the proposal would expand Bendigo’s cultural interest and diversity.

“As a real regional capital city, we should be aiming to cater for a real range of diverse people which makes the town all the more interesting,” he said.

Mr Green experienced some negativity when building the Great Stupa 33 years ago.

But he said while there was always a vocal minority in terms of religion, the majority of Bendigo would most likely support the move.

“Of course there will be some odd comments made from the more extreme elements, but the overwhelming community response was welcoming,” he said.

“I’m sure it’ll be the same for the mosque.

“You can’t think of a few people disagreeing with you – you have to think of the greater good and all the positives.”.

As it stands, the Islamic community have been congregating for worship in rooms at La Trobe University for several years but may soon have access to a two-storey, multi-use facility to pray.

The facility, planned for Rohs Road in East Bendigo, will feature two prayer halls, education facilities, a community sports hall and office.

Funded by the Australian Islamic Mission, it will cater for weddings and funerals and offer prayer facilities for up to 150 families.

Ms Cummings said Bendigo’s Muslim community would appreciate having a place to worship God as they have chosen.

“As a Christian, I appreciate having a place where I meet like-minded people to worship God,” she said.

“I appreciate being respected and having the freedom to choose my religious persuasion how and where to worship.

“For that reason I extend the same respect and appreciation to others.

“At the Loddon Campaspe Multicultural Services, we affirm our desire to promote respect and understanding for the integrity of each other beliefs, cultures and traditions.”

The planning application, submitted by Tomkinson Group, says the centre would “provide the Muslim community with an identity”.

“It will help define Bendigo as a welcoming multicultural city,” it states.

EARLIER: A PROPOSED $3 million Islamic centre in Bendigo is set to accommodate a changing community.

The multi-use centre, planned for Rohs Road in East Bendigo, will include two prayer halls, education facilities, a community sports hall, caretaker house and office.

The planning application, submitted by Tomkinson Group, says the centre would “help provide the Muslim community with an identity”.

“It will define Bendigo as a welcoming multicultural city,” it states.

The Bendigo Islamic community have been congregating for worship in rooms at La Trobe University for several years.

The proposed mosque, funded by the Australian Islamic Mission, will open up worship opportunities and offer prayer facilities for 150 families.

City of Greater Bendigo planning director Prue Mansfield said council was currently working with the applicants regarding the proposal.

“We are asking the usual questions about traffic impact and with it being close to the airport we want to make sure the height requirements are okay,” she said.

“Once we’ve sorted out that, we will formally advertise the application.”

Ms Mansfield said if the application was approved, construction would get underway immediately.

“We don’t have an opinion yet because we can’t do the assessment until all those questions have been answered,” she said.

“In terms of another service for Bendigo though, it is fantastic to see the community developing and us increasing our services for the changing community.”


However 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.


Bendigo Bank stands by decision to close account of anti-mosque group

A bank is standing by its decision to close the account of a protest group which is fighting plans to build a mosque in the Victorian city of Bendigo.

The Bendigo Bank last week informed the Stop the Mosque group that it was closing the group’s account, saying the bank only wants to do business with organisations that share its values.

The group was raising funds for its fight against a mosque which is proposed for a site near Bendigo’s airport.

The bank’s decision has drawn criticism on social media, while local councillor Elise Chapman has accused the bank of trying to be the ‘moral police’.

“There’s a lot of other people – there’s murderers, paedophiles, criminals – everybody banks, and I’m sure that those people also have bank accounts at the bank,” Ms Chapman said.

“I don’t know when the bank becomes the moral police. If the bank was the moral police they’d have not that many customers.”

In a statement, the bank said this was a considered decision and the bank has a right to its own opinion.

It says Bendigo Bank wants to do business with organisations whose values align with its own.

It says the bank values tolerance and inclusiveness, qualities which are an important part of a strong community.

Based on the number of moslem folk  in the area, this project would be like Hillsong Church building a new auditorium at a cost $60,000,000.00.

In other words it works out to over $11000.00 per person!

See other article


Bendigo /ˈbɛndɨɡ/ is a major regional city in the state of Victoria, Australia, located very close to the geographical centre of the state[3] and approximately 150 kilometres (93 mi) north west of the state capital, Melbourne. Bendigo has an urban population of 82,794 making it the fourth largest inland city in Australia and fourth most populous city in the state.