Restrictions lifted on operation of Maroochydore mosque
THE Sunshine Coast's first mosque has had its restrictive operating hours as part of its development approval lifted.
This will allow Muslims to be able to pray five times a day in Maroochydore instead of between 12pm and 3pm on Fridays.
The Sunshine Coast Council approved the Place of Worship development application for the Church Street site on June 23, but imposed strict conditions limiting the hours of worship and the number of people who could attend.
The Muslim Organisation Sunshine Coast (MoSC) took this to the Planning and Environment Court in August and now the council has renegotiated.
"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 council spokesman said.
"Council has therefore sought to negotiate a settlement of the matter with the applicant.
"Those negotiations have resulted in limiting the number of adults on buses for school excursions; limiting daily prayer sessions to five and clarifying that amplified sound is to be consistent with a normal speaking voice. "
The council acknowledged the mosque was a controversial issue and there were a "variety of views within the community in relation to this application".
"That said, the council has equally acknowledged that the Sunshine Coast is an open, inclusive and welcoming community that is underpinned by a strong sense of personal freedom, a profound belief in our democratic institutions and the rights of individuals and an unwavering commitment to the rule of law - Australian law."
MoSC President Ben Nitschke could not be reached for comment, but former president and member Orhan Dilbaz welcomed the changes.
"I can't see any reason why the council wouldn't give us permission to pray when we chose to," he said.