(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) - Plans to build a mosque near a church in Australia’s most populous city of Melbourne have invoked new campaigns against Islam and Muslims in the country, The Age
Muslims have applied to build a mosque and a community center in Green Street, Doveton.
The Muslim worship place will be constructed next to the church and headquarters of Catch the Fire Ministries, which is expected to be built within weeks.
But opponents argue that the mosque would cause noise pollution and traffic jams and will be used to preach hatred.
Opponents have presented three petitions against the building of the Muslim worship place.
But Australian Muslims dismissed the accusations, saying the mosque would be open to the public.
“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,” Nazeem Hussain, a director of the Islamic Council of Victoria, told Fairfax.
He voiced confidence that the local council would assess the application according to valid planning considerations.
The planning proposal is expected to come before the council in February 2013.
The building of mosques has been facing growing public opposition in several Western countries.
In the United States, at least 35 mosque projects have found foes, who battle to stop them from seeing light citing different pretexts, including traffic concerns and fear of terrorism.
Building mosques was also meeting opposition in several European countries as France, Italy and Spain.
In Switzerland, Swiss voters supported a referendum to ban the building of mosque minarets in the country.
Muslims, who have been in Australia for more than 200 years, make up 1.7 percent of its 20-million population. Islam is the country's second largest religion after Christianity.
In post 9/11 Australia, Muslims have been haunted with suspicion and have had their patriotism questioned.
A 2007 poll taken by the Issues Deliberation Australia (IDA) think-tank found that Australians basically see Islam as a threat to the Australian way of life.
A recent governmental report revealed that Muslims are facing deep-seated Islamophobia and race-based treatment like never before.