Muslims in Australia

Facebook shuts down Bendigo anti-mosque page

An artist's impression of the proposed mosque for East Bendigo.

An artist’s impression of the proposed mosque for East Bendigo.

by Rania Spooner,

A divisive social media page protesting the development of a mosque in Bendigo has been shut down by Facebook for violating its community standards.

The “Stop the Mosque in Bendigo” page claims it was closed over a post calling for Muslim leaders in Australia to sign “a Muslim charter of understanding” abolishing violence against other religions.

But some of those who reported the page to Facebook say they were told it was removed because it breached Facebook’s policy on hate speech.

The page sprang up earlier this year in response to a City of Greater Bendigo decision in June to grant a planning permit for a $3 million mosque, the first of its kind for the regional city.

It was taken down after at least two Bendigo residents complained about it to Facebook, the Bendigo Advertiser reported.

One woman, who wished to remain anonymous, said she made a report because she found the page’s contents embarrassing and unfair to Muslim people.

“I believe the page is hate speech and I don’t think that the average Muslim person living in Bendigo should have to see the stuff that was on that page. The page promoted hate, fear and misguided intolerance and made me embarrassed to live in Bendigo,” she told the Bendigo Advertiser.

Tara Harding, also a Bendigo resident, later posted on Facebook: “This was a great community effort by many of the Bendigo residents. I’m happy to say I too received a notification this page was shut down after reporting the page in July.”

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