For years, the Bendigo Muslim community has been pushing for a local mosque. The Shepparton Interfaith Network along the Islamic Faith Communities support the building of a mosque for the amenity of all peoples in Bendigo.
There are between 200 and 300 Muslim people in Bendigo, and about 150 families, according to community spokesman Heri Febriyanto.
According to Mr Febriyanto, the community in Bendigo has been steadily growing.
“At the moment we have more than 50 international, national and local Victorian students at La Trobe University,” he said.
“Muslims in Bendigo come from Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Africa, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and Indonesia.
“The Pakistani community and some people from Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are mostly working in the medical profession.
“As well there are 30 Afghanistan people working at Hazeldene’s chicken farm.”
While La Trobe has provided the Muslim community with a prayer room, they have outgrown the space.
Mr Febriyanto told the Weekly in August the community will be gathering in the YCW Club hall in Golden Square. “We need to have our own place for worship soon,” Mr Febriyanto said.
It looks like Mr Febriyanto’s wish, and the wish of the entire Bendigo Muslim community, is getting closer.
However the $3 million plan revealed in today’s Weekly is not just good news for the local Muslim community, it is good news for the entire city.
Bendigo obviously offers all religions a safe atmosphere to pray and prosper.
All across Bendigo, faiths are expanding.
For years the Buddhist community has been constructing the Great Stupa of Universal Compassion.
Even now, despite being a long way from completion, it is an attraction for Buddhists and tourists from around the world.
The Catholic-based Aspire Foundation is building a religious museum as part of the impressive redevelopment of the front of the Sacred Heart Cathedral.
The museum will highlight the history of all faiths on the Goldfields, and will also be a popular tourist spot in the years to come.
The East Bendigo mosque will be yet another stop for the ever-growing religious tourism market, but it will be much more.
For years, local Muslims have been worshipping in university rooms and a YMCA hall.
This new facility is a big plus for them, and a big plus for Bendigo.
It will highlight the importance of Bendigo to the Muslim world, and it will also showcase the importance of local Muslims to Bendigo.
Artists View of proposed Mosque, Rowena St, East Bendigo
View of proposed Mosque, Rowena St, East Bendigo