Tuesday, August 27th, 2013 - Australian Christians
With around 2,000 objections to a planning application for a mosque immediately next door to an Assyrian church, Hume councillors have not been deterred by the concerned citizens or extenuating circumstances or even the reality of social impact.

Media Statement from Australian Christians re: "Council gives go ahead for mosque to be built next to a church in Melbourne's north"

With around 2,000 objections to a planning application for a mosque immediately next door to an Assyrian church, Hume councillors have not been deterred by the concerned citizens or extenuating circumstances or even the reality of social impact.

Strangely enough, our Hume Council harmony team, who are ordinarily concerned with cultural sensitivity and diversity, have cast all that aside to ignore the heartfelt pleas of a community of refugees that has suffered untold trauma, torture and persecution to stick strictly to planning matters of noise and parking to vote against their objection to a planning application for a mosque next door.

This is no ordinary church community, but a group of refugees who are survivors of persecution as a religious minority in war torn Iraq. After one and a half hours of heart wrenching testimony from community members appealing for special compassion due to their personal traumatic experiences and the likelihood of the onset of trauma being triggered by the building of the proposed mosque next door, Hume councilors dismissed their objection.

As one Town Planner in attendance said after the meeting, 'they did this ignoring Section 60 of the Planning and Environment Act and the significant adverse social effects' - not least the impact on mental health. The councillors ignored the numerous submissions asking for a duty of care toward those whose trauma is re-triggered daily by current conflicts; they ignored the lack of commonsense in placing volatile Middle Eastern communities with such a deep and sordid history on adjacent blocks; they ignored the residents who complained about the lack of parking even now without the added congestion of several hundred more people in the street. One angry resident yelling out 'I can't even park in my own driveway now'! It just seemed to everyone else in the room, they ignored reality.

The objection by this community to the mosque was clearly not about the mosque per se, but about the proximity. It's 26.5 metre minaret will tower over and dominate the church and surrounding landscape and to this particular group of individuals would be a constant reminder of things they would prefer to put behind them.

Putting painful memories behind takes time and space, and this was all this community were seeking. Their mental health has been completely overlooked and Humes' harmony is seriously in jeopardy.

At a meeting previously attended by Australian Christians Senate candidate Vickie Janson with the harmony team on behalf of the Ancient Church of the East, the sensitivity councillors asked the traumatised Iraqi's - representing some without limbs and loved ones - 'when will you get over it?' This sentiment was reiterated at the Hume Council meeting Monday evening as the 2,000 in attendance were told to embrace multiculturalism. What will it take for councillors to take the impact of torture and trauma, and the concerns of the residents seriously?

Contact Profile

Australian Christians


Australian Christians is the new federal political party with the goal of representing the values and concerns of the 2.7 million Christian Australians who attend church once a month or more, and others who identify with those concerns.
Vickie Janson
P: 0411 298 464
W: australianchristians.com.au

Keywords

multiculturalism, Christianity, Muslim

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