Speakers warn of heavily funded 'super mosque' in Mackay
MUSLIMS at the Mackay Masjid and Islamic Centre are concerned ahead of a Safe Communities forum on "the cost of Islam to Australia".
The forum, to be held at the Andergrove Tavern at 7pm on Monday, June 12, features a talk on "the social impact of mosques in Australia".
Mackay Region Safe Communities, who is bringing the talk to Mackay, could not be contacted for comment last week, however one of the speakers, John Bolton, did comment.
"We need to be moderate but firm about what our reaction is to Islam in Australia," he told the Mercury.
"It's an education process. We have to make sure we don't backlash against ordinary Aussie Muslims, but on the other hand, we target those Islamists who put their abhorrent Sharia law over and above Australian civil and criminal law.
"Imagine if your town was targeted by a heavily-funded super mosque community like is going on south of Brisbane."
Surgeon Dr Muhammad Ashraf is president of Mackay's only Islamic centre located at Baker's Creek.
He said Muslim people in the local area made a significant contribution to the Mackay community, rather than coming at a cost.
"What I remember is the Afghan camel riders who came in the 1800s, they were the backbone of building all the infrastructure and the rail in the middle of Australia. Muslim influence was contribution. Even in Mackay, the Javanese Muslims were cane cutters, sitting with the wider community," he said.
Dr Ashraf said there were 50-60 Muslim families who use the Bakers Creek mosque. A high number are professionals.
"There are about 40 Muslim doctors in the Mackay region, out of that 10 are specialists."
Dr Ashraf said there were no more mosques planned in the region.
"I'm not aware of anyone planning to build a new mosque. This is enough for our community."
"The centre was built by people of Javanese origin, who came over here in the 1800s, we still have some old ladies and men in their 80s who come to the centre, they are the parents who built the mosque," Dr Ashraf said.
"The Indonesian or Javanese men who came to do the cane cutting, they are fourth or fifth generation now. They used to pray in the fields, then they bought this area and built the mosque.
"I don't know why they are making such a fuss. We are all working people, we aren't on benefits, we contribute our taxes.
"We have chosen this country, we are honouring the law of the land, that's the obligation from our Islamic teachings as well."
Member Mustafa Akbar said all faiths were welcome at the mosque.
"The Musjid must never segregate, we welcome anybody here. If the Christians want to come, they can come."
Mr Akbar added that he was considering attending the forum.