Ballarat Interfaith Network has come out in full support of the planned mosque for Ballarat. The Shepparton Interfaith Network supports the building of a Mosque for all the peoples of Ballarat and Districts. One the key concerns of the local interfaith network has been the presence of a place of worship for the Islamic communities of Ballarat.
Public Relations Officer for Ballarat Interfaith Network, Margaret Lennan Ellis, said that the views of Restore Australia do not reflect the views of the community at large, which is also supporting the Mosque as a place of worship for the growing Muslim community. There are 150 muslim students at Federation University, and they have outgrown the University Prayer Room.
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, said the Mayor. You can read more of Ballarat Mayor Josh Morris's comments on the ABC Ballarat website.
Ballarat Interfaith Network Media Release
Spokesperson for the Ballarat Interfaith Network, Margaret Lennan Ellis issued a press release about the views of the group opposing the mosque:
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".
Islamic Society of Ballarat
Islamic Society of Ballarat has purchased a suitable property for the Mosque. Planning Permit from the Ballarat City Council has already been issued to use this property as a "Place of Worship". This Property is located at 116 Elsworth Street East, Ballarat VIC 3350.
The society says the 65 Ballarat Muslim families and 150 Muslim students at Federation Uni are currently resorting to using the University prayer room.
The planned Mosque will cater for 150 people at a time and the Islamic Society says it will provide a much-needed place to hold "community meetings, discussions and gatherings".
Interfaith Network Support
Shepparton Interfaith Network fully supports and welcomes the construction of the Ballarat Mosque. During 2013, Shepparton Interfaith Network hosted visitors from the Ballarat Interfaith Network at the Mooroopna Mosque. One of the principal reasons for this visit was visit a mosque in regional Victoria as there was no mosque in Ballarat. You may read more of this visit to Shepparton by the members of the Ballarat Interfaith Network here.
Site for Ballarat Mosque