“Horrible graffiti at Cairns Mosque today. Nasty and so wrong. The predominant Muslim families in Cairns have been here since the early 1900s, well known in the Cane farming industry” – Gemma Ambrose (Facebook comment)
Vandals graffiti Cairns mosque
By Kirsty Nancarrow and Kier Shorey, source: ABC
A mosque in Cairns in far north Queensland has been targeted by vandals.
The front of the Cairns North mosque was graffitied with anti-Muslim sentiments in large red lettering early yesterday.
Imam Abdul Aziz Mohammed, 81, says he has been involved with the Cairns community for decades and cannot do any more to integrate.
“I’ve lived here in Cairns all my life and this is the first time we’ve ever seen any physical opposition to our religion and basically our family,” he said.
“My family’s been here since 1900 and I was shocked, to say the least.”
The attack has been condemned by local political leaders, including Cairns MP Gavin King, Mayor Bob Manning and Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch.
Interestingly this was in the news in 2008
Muslim community celebrates Cairns’ first mosque
June 27, 2008, source: The Australian
FAR north Queensland’s Muslim community is celebrating its court victory to build a mosque in Cairns.
Cairns’ Muslim community has battled for eight years to get approval to build the city’s first mosque.
Construction is expected to start within two months depending on whether the Planning and Environment Court’s decision is appealed within the next month.
The mosque was initially approved by the Cairns City Council in May 2007, but nearby residents appealed the decision to stop its construction on a site in Dunn Street.
They argued that a mosque did not comply with character provisions in the town plan, in particular the eight metre high dome, and would cause heavy traffic in the area.
The Planning and Environment Court however ruled in favour of the Cairns and District Islamic Cultural and Building Trust and Cairns City Council yesterday, noting: “Its footprint is no greater than some of the other development in the street and its height is about the same as a number of higher houses in the street.”
Cairns’ Muslim spiritual leader for the past 20 years, Imam Abdul Aziz Mohammed, said he was overjoyed with the result.
He said he felt the motives behind the appeal were not entirely town planning concerns.
“I feel there was some anti-Islamic sentiments. This was drawn out in protest letters handed to the council,” the cleric said.
“Ninety per cent of the comments in the letters said they didn’t want a mosque anywhere in Cairns let alone Dunn Street.”
Imam Abdul Aziz said he was surprised with the reaction because Muslims had been in Cairns for more than 100 years.
“I’ve been in Cairns for 76 years. I was born and bred here.
“My father came out here from India in the 1900s. There were not only Muslims but Hindus and Christians.
“The community has never been big enough to warrant a mosque up until the last 10 to 15 years.
“(The court hearing) has cost us more than $50,000.”
He said there were up to 130 regular worshipping Muslims in the area.
The mosque will cost between $250,000 and $400,000 to build.
The site will include three buildings, including a tea room, an ablution room and a 22 metre long prayer hall with an outside covered area.
For the past eight years local Muslims have been meeting in a two bedroom house on the mosque site.