Mosque approval praised – Lisa Cox

Mosque approval praised – Lisa Cox

Canberra’s Muslim community has described planning approval for the territory’s second mosque as a ”victory of goodwill”.

The ACT Planning and Land Authority yesterday approved Canberra Muslim Community Inc’s application to build a 500-capacity mosque on The Valley Avenue in Gungahlin.

In their assessment, ACT planners found surrounding roads could cope with traffic generated by the mosque and that the proposed 43 on-site parking spaces were sufficient.

Advertisement Planners also said several objections to the mosque on religious and cultural grounds were found to be ”irrelevant” and ”unsubstantiated”.

Canberra Muslim Community Inc president Borhan Ahmed said the green light for the project was a ”victory” following an organised campaign by the Concerned Citizens of Canberra to prevent the development.

”It’s a victory over those negative campaigns,” he said. ”I am so happy we have made it after many years of waiting. We thank all the Canberra community for their support.”

Mr Ahmed said work at the site would begin as soon as possible, but was subject to a number of conditions set by the ACT government.

But he was wary the legal action in the ACT Supreme Court by the Concerned Citizens of Canberra also had the potential to stall the development.

In his report on the development application, chief planning executive David Papps said the planning authority had received 20 submissions from supporters of the mosque.

While ACTPLA ”carefully considered and deliberated on the many representations received”, some objections to the development were ”irrelevant”.

”Some of the representations included statements or reports concerning lack of community integration, assimilation, differences in faiths and beliefs, differences in world views, security concerns, perceptions about values and sources of funding and alleged links between members of the Muslim community and/or adherents of the Islamic faith to crime, organised crime, violence and terrorism and the like,” Mr Papps states in the report.

”Many of them were found to be irrelevant because they did not relate to the ACT Muslim community.

”Many were also unsubstantiated [largely drawn from internet sources], incapable of verification or matters of opinion.”

ACTPLA also found the new mosque was necessary to cater to Canberra’s growing Muslim population. Canberra Multicultural Community Forum deputy chair Diana Abdel-Rahman said approval of the development showed ”democracy in action”.

”Processes were followed, guidelines were accepted, information sessions were held,” she said.

”It was done like any other place of worship.”

After the distribution in June of 5000 anti-mosque flyers by the Concerned Citizens of Canberra, the Legislative Assembly’s three parties stated their support for the development.

Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development Simon Corbell said the decision was ”good news for Canberra’s Islamic community” and a ”positive step for religious diversity in the ACT”.

Opposition Leader Zed Seselja said he was pleased with the outcome and that the project could progress. ”Freedom of worship is one of the most basic beliefs of the Liberal Party, and we’ve been vocal supporters of the mosque,” he said.

Read more:

Link requested by Shahadat Manik

Place your ads here!

No comments

Write a comment
No Comments Yet! You can be first to comment this post!

Write a Comment