ANGER at plans for a mosque and evangelical church to be built side-by-side in Melbourne’s east has spilled over amid claims Islam ”directly contravenes our freedom values”.

It was standing room only at the City of Casey chambers in Narre Warren on Tuesday night at one of the last meetings before the council debates a proposal to build a mosque and community centre on a vacant industrial lot in Green Street, Doveton.

The mosque would be next to the church and headquarters of Catch the Fire Ministries, run by controversial anti-Islam Pastor Danny Nalliah who was acquitted of a racial vilification charge brought by the Islamic Council of Victoria in 2006. The church has already been approved by council and construction is expected to begin within weeks.

Residents at the meeting cited traffic concerns, noise pollution, and fears the mosque would be used to preach hate speech.

Mayor Amanda Stapledon repeatedly asked the gallery of about 50 people to be quiet amid booing, cheering and heckling.

”This is not Afghanistan, have some guts for a change!” one man yelled at councillors. Another carried a sign that read: ”We love the Moslems but do not accept the teachings of the Koran”.

Deputy mayor Sam Aziz spoke in favour of three petitions with a total of 1600 signatures opposing the mosque.

He moved a motion, which was carried by six votes to four, ”that the matters raised in the petitions be considered by the council’s planning department during their deliberation on the application”.

Councillor Rosalie Crestani, who supported a second motion based on four more petitions against the mosque with a total of 48 signatures, said she had ”read vastly” about Islam in the past five years, and developed a ”deep concern, compassion and love for the Muslim people”.

”At the core of [Islamic] doctrine is a political ideology that seeks to control every follower’s life and eventually the surrounding community and beyond,” she said.

She gave examples of Islamic influence in the City of Casey, saying it was sometimes difficult to purchase non-halal food, and noting Muslim-only prayer rooms and swimming sessions at publicly funded facilities.

Councillor Crestani read an email from a resident saying ”every mosque involves more than religion. It is their centre for training its people for the time when critical mass is achieved and the time to make huge demands on the host nation.”

When she finished speaking she received a standing ovation from the gallery.

Nazeem Hussain, a director of the Islamic Council of Victoria, told Fairfax ”the proposed mosque is open to all members of the public and aims to promote a socially cohesive community in a region which is incredibly diverse and multiculturally vibrant”. He said the Islamic Council of Victoria trusted the council would assess the application according to valid planning considerations.

The Planning and Environment Act allows the council to consider factors like traffic, noise and amenity when deciding whether to approve a planning application, but not the applicant’s cultural or religious background.

Former president of Liberty Victoria, Professor Spencer Zifcak, said the City of Port Phillip had faced similar petitions in early 2011 when additional sessions were proposed for Muslim prayers in a St Kilda community house. The permit was eventually granted after the council accepted Professor Zifcak’s argument that faith was not a valid consideration under Victorian planning legislation.

The motion moved by Councillor Aziz this week said the council noted the petitioners’ concerns about ”social harmony and fears [ … ] relating to possible incitement of hatred and violence”.

”While they will not impact on the planning application, they are nevertheless matters of important public discourse that needed to be discussed in a publicly elected forum such as Council,” it read.

When asked whether the council would be acting outside its powers by considering the concerns about Islam raised in the petitions, Pastor Nalliah said ”technically yes, but there has to be a first time for everything”.

The planning proposal is expected to come before council in February 2013.

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9 Responses to “Plan for mosque draws anti-Islam sentiment”

  1. 1 Darryl


    I heard a whisper that a large mosque has also been planned for Wollongong.

    I read your webpage and was impressed with your strategy to meet the issue head on.

    Do you have a list of specific facts that you may have used to give the world some idea of the dangers and implications of having the Islamic world amongst us?

    I’d really appreciate any resources you may have.



  2. 2 Cecilia

    Hi Jason,

    Thank you for the update of Meeting with Council re “No mosque in Doveton”. I have forward the email to Pastor Steve Ryder.

    Cecilia / blessings

  3. 3 Cameron

    I am so full of Joy to read this and want to thank you all for your guts and backbone .
    I am truly honoured to know you and call you brothers and sisters .
    God bless you. Cameron

  4. 4 Janet

    Catch the Fire M team:

    Thank you for such joyful exciting news, how clear and true it is that the weapons of this world are not the weapons we fight with, which on the contrary have divine power to demolish strongholds….Praise God.

    Obviously many prayer warriors have been at work in this issue, not to mention the physical efforts that have been made through the petition and speaking out. And praise for the bold stand of the Dep Mayor Sam Aziz and Councillor Rosalie Costani. That has lifted my heart so much.

    And we will continue to pray.

    Blessings to all,


  5. 5 Tony and Glenyse

    Hi, it has been very encouraging to read your email. Praise God, the greater one who is for us and not against us.
    Wishing you all a blessed and prosperous New Year ahead, may you know the love and peace of our Lord and Saviour as you share your Christmas with loved ones remembering Him and what He has given us. Tony and Glenyse

  6. 6 Michele Dorey

    CBN News has an article titled ‘Mosquebuster’ Takes on Britain’s Islamists. Its worth a read:

  7. 7 Ian & Heather

    This is great news. So encouraging. Its a winnable war, but it may take a while and requires Gods people to continue standing up, without causing unnecessary offence. Bless you guys. We are with you in prayer. We’ll see you on New Years eve at Hallam. Amen Ian & Heather

  8. 8 Asim

    Dear brother in Christ, I Will pray that Holy Ghost work in Muslims. I can work in them and i will share the word of God.I will use different tools and special camel method.Me live in Pakistan.My ex name is Muhammad Ishfaq. Now my name is Asim as I left Islam and accept my Lord Jesus Christ. Many many blessings!

  9. 9 Jan

    Hi Pastor Daniel

    Thank you for your obedience to Father God in raising up RUA Party.

    I stand with you in prayer and will fully support you with my vote. We are a wonderful and unique Land “The Great South Land of the Holy Spirit”.

    Many blessings to you and your family.


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