Muslims in Australia apparently have a sinister desire to build their mosques in communities where a majority of residents don’t want them because they understand the threat that Islam and its followers pose to them.
ABC After six years of controversy that saw protests in the streets and a mock beheading, a mosque is finally being built in the central Victorian city of Bendigo. Accompanied by police, Premier Daniel Andrews took part in a sod-turning ceremony at the site of the future Bendigo Islamic Community Centre in East Bendigo this morning.
The premier said he was not concerned about the prospect of the centre being targeted by protesters. “Bigotry is not an acceptable form of protest. Ignorance is no excuse when it comes to these things,” he said. The first milestone in the highly contested project has been made possible by a $400,000 grant from Andrew’s Victorian Government.
Some opponents claimed the mosque would bring violence to Bendigo and the city would be overtaken by Sharia law. A small group of local residents then took the case to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT), arguing the development would cause traffic and social problems.
While VCAT dismissed those concerns, the fight continued to the Victorian Court of Appeal before a final attempt to take the matter to the High Court in 2016 was thrown out.
Alongside the failed legal action, mosque opponents took their fight to the community through a coordinated social media campaign, with trucks towing billboards and black balloons strung up across the city.
The tension brought far-right activists to the regional city, with three men staging a mock beheading on a dummy with fake blood outside the Bendigo council offices.
The disagreement also broke onto the streets in Bendigo, as a rowdy protest in August 2015 shut down the city centre as anti-mosque and leftist pro-mosque activists rallied against one another. Large numbers of police officers were needed to keep the large groups apart as several small scuffles broke out.