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Monash Mosque: Church warns of ‘assassination and bombing’ if renovation approved

Monash mosque

The following seems to be a community in dire need of interfaith interaction and committed dialogue on points of difference and commonality. (h/t: Charles “Daud” Meekings.)

Monash Mosque: Church warns of ‘assassination and bombing’ if renovation approved

by Vince Chadwick (Monash Weekly)

ANTI-Islamic sentiment has flared in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs, with the planned renovation of a mosque near Monash University prompting a senior member of the local Uniting Church to claim mosques may provide a training ground for religious fanatics.

The Monash mosque is in a house owned by the university and used by about 1000 people, mostly staff and students, each week for prayers. However, the president of the Islamic Association of Monash Mosque, Mohamed Mohideen, said the house was too small to host the growing congregation, including international students and nearby residents.

The chairman of the Monash Uniting Church congregation, Richard Farrell, wrote to the Monash City Council at the end of October on church letterhead, opposing the planned development ”on behalf of the Monash Uniting Church Congregation”.

Mr Farrell wrote that the expansion would disturb residents with the call to prayer, and impinge on their privacy, and that the streets would become congested, particularly during Friday prayers.

He wrote that ”in effect a mosque is a training ground for religious moderates at one end of the scale and religious fanatics at the other end.

”Such opinions in extreme cases can promote ‘jihad’ and the destruction of the ‘infidel’ right up to teaching about the assassination and bombing of Christian and other establishments.”

Mr Mohideen, a microbiology lecturer and deputy chairman of the Monash Interfaith Gathering, said the Muslim community was saddened by the objections. ”For Muslims, prayers are important and we need a place to pray. The university has been kind enough to provide us with a premises for 20 years, and now it is time to look at redeveloping that to make sure it is more comfortable.”

The general secretary of the Uniting Church’s Victoria-Tasmania Synod, the Reverend Dr Mark Lawrence, said Mr Farrell’s comments were ”extremely unfortunate” and did not speak for the overall church.

He said the suggestion the facility could be ”a training ground for … religious fanatics” went against the church’s strong desire to interact with all faiths in a respectful manner.

The Uniting Church minister of the Monash Congregation, the Reverend Hoon You, said the church committee had discussed the mosque renovation last year and decided any objections would be sent to the council in an individual capacity. ”We didn’t want to make this a religion-against-religion situation,” he said. ”Our church has English classes and other community activities that welcome Muslims, too.”

But Mr You said the use of mosques to train religious fanatics was still continuing in Europe, and this had triggered concern among some members of his congregation.

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  • Ahmed

    That was a really weird statement from Mr Farell. Anyway good to see that the Mr Mohideen is also a microbiology lecturer. :D

    b.h. sotero

    Pardon me but was that sarcasm? :D

  • eslaporte

    I’m working on a project right now that both expands the definition of “security” to a definition that all human beings living in the society are entitled to security. It will also expand the definition of state terrorism to include indifference and inaction to threats and violence by non-state actors against groups that the state has an obligation to protect. There are a lot of critical terrorism and critical security academics out of Australia, btw.

  • eslaporte

    Excuse me, isn’t this incitement?

  • GaribaldiOfLoonwatch

    Disturbing that the Church used such rhetoric. But I agree and also hope that through a proper initiative of interfaith discussion, differences can be bridged. I’m just curious if this has been proposed officially?

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