Council hears pleas on Muslim welfare centre ‘stop use’ order

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Representatives of the Australian Muslim Welfare Centre at Eagleview Road, Minto have pleaded with Campbelltown Council to revoke its “stop use’’ order.

They also presented a petition backing their call and which had been signed by 5007 people – 633 of whom identify as being from the Campbelltown LGA.

The order prevents the Welfare Centre from being used as a place of worship. It is understood council issued the order in response to complaints.

The order is the subject of an appeal by the recipient to the Land and Environment Court of NSW. That appeal has been listed for a conciliation conference on March 25 next year.

At council’s ordinary monthly meeting in November, Dr Anisul Afsar, Mr Habib Bhuiyan (vice president of Australian Muslim Welfare Centre Inc) and Mr Abul Sarker addressed officers and councillors.

All three pointed out that the centre is primarily used for various community activities, including birth celebrations, marriage celebrations, empathy service, charity fundraisers, and other cultural events.

 It was emphasised by the speakers that the act of prayer is a fundamental aspect of the Islamic faith, with Muslims obligated to observe prayer five times a day, including Friday prayers.

“This religious obligation is fulfilled wherever an individual may be, whether it is at work, in their homes, in a park, or in a community facility with other Muslims.

“Further, we would like to emphasize that prayer and worship are integral to the life of a Muslim and cannot be separated from their daily activities.’’

“We fervently hope that the council will proceed with a fair-minded perspective, aimed at promoting understanding and inclusivity.’’

Once the speakers finished, the Mayor, George Greiss thanked them and pointed out that because the matter is the subject of court proceedings, council could not do anything about the “stop use’’ order until after the scheduled conciliation conference on March 25 next year.

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