The Bendigo Weekly revealed in January the local Muslim community planned to build the mosque in East Bendigo.
The Australian Defence League is planing the “protest rally” at the Queen Elizabeth Oval against the building.“In a show of defiance against Islam our meddling enemy, fellow Australians, young and old, male and female, will come together in solidarity on this very occasion, and put our foot down against what is Australia’s biggest threat; as well as a nuisance to the people of Bendigo,” the rally promotion states.
“We will be there to support the people of Bendigo and to show Australia that the people come first.”
A Greater Bendigo council spokesman said people had a Common Law right to protest peacefully.Bendigo Islam community leader Heri Febriyanto said Australia had a rich tradition of bringing people together from across the world.
“People have a right to hold their views. That is a fundamental part of Australian culture,” he said.
“We would just encourage anyone who has questions whether about the centre or Islam in general to reach out and ask us rather than rely on the misinformation.
“We are, and will continue to, add to the vibrancy of our community.“There are many things we can all learn from each other if we just take the time and
opportunity that presents itself.”
Mr Febriyanto said the mosque plans were progressing.“As per council’s request, we are currently preparing information in relation to the design and development of the proposal,” he said.
“Preparation of a Traffic Impact Assessment is also underway. All this information will be forwarded to council in due course for further assessment of the proposal.
“Once the design of the proposal is finalised and accepted by council, we hope council would then be able to undertake the public consultation process as soon as possible.“Everyone has a right to express themselves within the guidelines of Australian law.”