Friday, December 16, 2016

Bishop of Toowoomba supports easing mosque restrictions

The Bishop of Toowoomba, Robert McGuckin, has lent his support to Muslims who are asking Toowoomba Regional Council to ease restrictions at the town's mosque.

Bishop McGuckin said restrictions that limit the number of people allowed to pray at the mosque should be lifted.

His call comes as the region's councillors prepare to decide whether to approve a request by the Toowoomba Islamic Charitable Organisation to remove a restriction that limits the number of worshippers during the week to 50 and 150 during lunchtime Friday prayers.

Bishop McGuckin said he understood there were concerns about parking but that it would only affect people for a short amount of time.

He said the regulations should not have been imposed as the group was rebuilding rather than constructing a new building.

The mosque was left unusable by two arson attacks last year.

As part of the rebuilding plans, an expansion is proposed that will see the total ground floor area increase by 159sq m.

The region's councillors voted last week to defer a decision on the restrictions until the next general meeting.

Bishop McGuckin said he understood the number of people attending the mosque would not substantially rise from those who had attended before the arson attack.

He also raised concerns about how the restrictions would be enforced. "Will they have police at the doors?" he questioned.

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