Mosque event in Toowoomba aims to foster solidarity

Having fun at the official opening of the Garden City Mosque are (from left) Meriam Legese, Zainab Khan and Hafizah Khan.
Having fun at the official opening of the Garden City Mosque are (from left) Meriam Legese, Zainab Khan and Hafizah Khan. Kevin Farmer

"TRUE friends stand together in times of need."

With anti-mosque protests being held today in some parts of Australia, the message of solidarity is being sent through a morning tea at Garden City Mosque in Toowoomba today from 10.30am.

Islamic Society of Toowoomba president Professor Shahjahan Khan said it was good to see some non-Muslim community members were going to the Garden City Mosque in Toowoomba to express solidarity with Muslims.  

"It is absolutely important that we engage with the wider community on a regular basis to build strong community bonds for a peaceful living with mutual respect and care," he said.

Dr Mark Copland, Executive Officer for the Social Justice Commission for the Catholic Diocese of Toowoomba is facilitating the morning tea and said: "In Toowoomba we have a shared history of harmony and respectful dialogue with our Muslim sisters and brothers."

He said the morning tea, which will be attended by a number of faith traditions, would not be a "once off".

"Christians and Muslims have come together in times of tragedy and in times of celebration in Toowoomba and bonds of trust and understanding have been nurtured and strengthened over the years."

The religious leaders are trying to encourage community members in Toowoomba who are fearful or confused at this time to engage and get to know the local Muslim community.

"Nobody is pretending that everything is easy, but the best thing that we can do at this time is work to create an inclusive and respectful community," Dr Copland said.

"Our lived experience is one of harmony and friendship."

The morning tea will take place from 10:30-11:30am at the mosque in West St.

The Toowoomba mosque was severely damaged when a fire ripped through building earlier this year and police believe an arsonist was responsible.

It was the second time this year the mosque was attacked.

As yet no-one has been charged.

October 10 has been nominated as a date to protest mosques in some parts of the world.

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