On 10 October, members of the wider community from all walks of life gathered at the Garden City Mosque, Toowoomba for Morning Tea to mark the unity of the people of Toowoomba.
In a media release, Executive Officer of Social Justice Commission, Dr Mark Copland termed the event as ‘People of Faith Stand in Unity with Toowoomba’s Muslim Community.’
Dr Copland said, “Bonds of trust and understanding have been nurtured and strengthened over the years. At the beginning of the Christian season of Lent, Muslims and Christians have come together. At the end of the Holy Month of Ramadan Christians and Muslims have come together. The 10th October has been set as a date to protest mosques in some parts of the world. As Christians we felt it was important to be here to stand together at this time.”
There were representation from all major churches in Toowoomba such as Catholic (Fr Brian Sparkman, my contact and friend since 1994, and Dr Mark Copland), Anglican (Dr Jonathan Inkpin, Chair of Toowoomba Goodwill Committee, and Rev Penny Jones), Uniting (Mrs Sharon Kirk), Lutheran (Rev Evan Reichelt), Toowoomba Churches Together (Rev Denise Harcourt) among others. Community leaders included Mr Matt Elipson, Mr Roberto Garcia, and Solicitor Brian Conrick.
The Vice Chancellor of University of Southern Queensland, Professor Jan Thomas also participated in the event and lent her support for the Muslim community.
The participants went inside the burned Mosque building and expresses their shock and horror by looking at the huge damage caused by the arson attack on the Mosque early this year.
Imam Abdul Kader, Dr Mark Copland, Fr Brian Sparkman, Police Officer Scott McGrath, and President of Islamic Society of Toowoomba, Professor Shahjahan Khan spoke at the gathering and condemned all kinds of violence and radicalism and invited the wider community to work together to make sure that the young generation is not mislead by any extremist group.