Band doesn't want to be associated with anti-mosque group
DESPITE a knock-back from yet another Gladstone venue, Kim Vuga from Stop the Mosque Gladstone says she is still going ahead with plans to hold an anti-mosque meeting today.
Following cancellations from the Rocky Glen Hotel and Gladstone RSL and Bowls Club, the Gladstone Thistle and Pipe Band cancelled the group booking at its premises after the committee voted it down.
Band president Mark Munroe said the association knew Ms Vuga's intentions when it took the booking but decided against hosting the event after community pressure.
The decision to cancel the meeting was not unanimous, but Mr Munroe said the band did not want to be associated with the group.
"At the time of the booking the treasurer knew what the meeting was all about but when the committee came together we decided it wasn't in our best interest," he said.
The Greens Party representative Craig Tomsett confirmed a group of his people had 'spoken to' the Rocky Glen Hotel and the bowls club; the venues were told they would protest the event, but not the venue.
The anti-Islamic Facebook group was formed by Ms Vuga in opposition to the Islamic Society of Gladstone's proposal to build an Islamic Centre in Gladstone.
If the meeting goes ahead, Mr Tomsett said he would "view it from afar".
"We don't know if we want to give them any more oxygen," he said. "We believe in freedom of speech but we also believe people have the right to protest.
"We will attend and participate but we do not want to get involved with any physical conflict. The irony is that they are complaining about being denied a venue to hold their meeting which is exactly what they are doing to the Islamic Society."
Commenting on the story as it developed online through the day yesterday, Thomas Bartley wrote: "I don't understand why people are blocking this? This is no different to any other group that want to meet up really is? Because like anything there's two sides and I'm sure the pro mozzie group has met/is meeting up to discuss their agenda as well. Just get over it let them fight for what they believe is right just like everyone does."
But Brigit Green said: "I fail to see how these individuals can persist with the hoax that they speak for all Australians (which they do not) when they face all these problems."