Muslim community races against clock to fund mosque
THE Muslim Organisation has ramped up fundraising in Brisbane and Sydney in the hope of building its first Islamic Centre on the Sunshine Coast.
The group, which has about 200 members, has until tomorrow to raise $673,000 to purchase land in Church St, Maroochydore.
Fundraising dinners were held at the Islamic College of Brisbane and the Gallipoli Mosque in Auburn, Sydney, in a bid to raise the money.
People were invited to "join a successful business opportunity, which has no loss but everlasting reward, for a much-needed Islamic Centre in the Sunshine Coast area''.
Muslim Organisation Sunshine Coast (MOSC) president Orhan Dilbaz has spoken of his community's desire to have a mosque on the Coast.
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"Insh'Allah we will establish a mosque in a central area accessible to all local muslims," the organisation's website says.
Latest fundraising brochures are calling the planned site an "Islamic Centre".
There has been strong opposition to a mosque in Maroochydore, with a heated protest on the proposed site on September 20.
A Stop the Mosque at Maroochydore Facebook site has gathered 6452 supporters since September 11.
The proposed Islamic site was the "catalyst" for the creation of the group Sunshine Coast Safe Communities.
The group, established by a Coast man who wants to remain anonymous, has started a petition to send to Sunshine Coast Council and the State Government to try to stop the centre from going ahead.
The petition calls on the council to apply the "precautionary principle" and refuse permission for a mosque "due to current national security issues, public disruption and local community concerns".
The Sustainable Planning Act is also used as grounds for refusal. Under current laws it is "code assessable".
The group's secretary said he had spoken to about half of the Coast's 11 councillors to highlight concerns.
He hoped to present the petition within the month.
The MOSC spokesman did not return calls for comment.