THE Catholic Bishop of Toowoomba has lent his support to Muslims who are asking Toowoomba Regional Council to ease restrictions at the mosque.

Reverend Robert McGuckin said restrictions that limit the number of Muslims allowed to pray at the mosque should be lifted.

His call comes as the region's councillors prepare to decide today 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.

MOSQUE MATTERS: The mayors of Toowoomba past listen to Imam Abdul Kader of the Garden City Mosque put his view forward in council chambers. Wednesday Dec 7, 2016.
MOSQUE MATTERS: The mayors of Toowoomba past listen to Imam Abdul Kader of the Garden City Mosque put his view forward in council chambers. Wednesday Dec 7, 2016. Nev Madsen

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.

How the Garden City Mosque will look upon completion of the expansion. Photo Contributed
How the Garden City Mosque will look upon completion of the expansion. Photo Contributed Contributed

The region's councillors voted last week to defer a decision on the restrictions until the general meeting - due to be held from 10am today.

Bishop McGuckin said he understood the number of Muslims 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.

Last year the Sunshine Coast Council imposed strict conditions limiting the hours of worship and the number of people who could attend at a Maroochydore mosque.

The case was taken to the Planning and Environment Court and the council backed down.

"After considering its legal advice, it became clear there would be little prospect of the council successfully defending its position in the Planning and Environment Court and that any such defence would result in significant cost to ratepayers," a spokesman for the council said in March.

Islamic Society of Toowoomba founding president Dr Shahjahan Khan said since the Toowoomba council had not imposed any such restrictions on the number of attendees on places of worship in the past it may learn from the Sunshine Coast experience.

Bishop Robert McGuckin has written to the Mayor Paul Antonio and all councillors requesting that council lift the number limit at the mosque.

Similar letters of support have come from other community organisations including Toowoomba Churches Together and St Anthony's Church, the closest church to the mosque.


Your chance to win Simple Pleasures photo competition

Your chance to win Simple Pleasures photo competition

Love is all you need for Bruns photo comp

EDITORIAL: An idea even bigger than this headline

EDITORIAL: An idea even bigger than this headline

Strap yourself in fellow dreamers

EDITORIAL: Hashtag us back to the Stone Age

EDITORIAL: Hashtag us back to the Stone Age

Trust the instincts of our own beautiful #byrontribe

Local Partners