With regret, Australians have watched the scuffles that have broken out yesterday (Saturday 29th of August) in Bendigo over the issue of building a mosque.
Australian Islamic Mission (AIM) denounces and regrets the violence that has occurred. We recognize the rights of everyone to peacefully protest including those protesting against the building of the mosque. However, we condemn the use of violence whether to protest against the mosque or to protest against racism. AIM also expresses disappointment about the calls toward racism and the efforts made by marginal number of people to divide the community.
In the same breath, we stand with the unequivocal constitutional right of Australian Muslims, like anyone else to build a place of worship for the community in Bendigo. A facility that is intended to be an asset to the wider Bendigo community.
AIM reiterates its sincere appreciation and gratitude to all Australians and all the people of Bendigo who have stood by the Muslims of Bendigo in their plight to exercise their right to build a place of worship in their city. We have witnessed the Bendigo community come together on many occasions in a heart-warming way to support this cause and to stand against racism and bigotry.
Australian Islamic Mission President, Sheik Abdulla Hawari, has lamented the scuffles that broke out. “We stand by the constitutional right of Muslims in Bendigo to build a place of worship and we stand with the right of everyone to protest,” said Hawari. “In the same breath we condemn the use of any violence either to protest against or for this cause.”
AIM believes that despite a minority group of racists, the vast Bendigo and Australian community stand with the rights of minorities to exercise their civil rights. Australians understand that encroaching on the civil rights of minorities will undoubtedly mean encroaching on the civil rights of all.