Members of an Assyrian Catholic church at Coolaroo, north of Melbourne, have threatened to abandon the church if a proposed mosque project proceeds on land next door, reports the ABC.
More than 1,000 objections have been filed against a decision by the Hume City Council in August to allow the construction of the mosque by the Al Sadiq Foundation. In a survey of 359 parishioners of St Mary's Ancient Church of the East, 90 per cent of respondents said they would leave the church if the mosque was built.
The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) is hearing the matter, which is not being pursued by the church but by a local residents group, the Broadmeadows Progress Association.
However, the ABC has been told the church is assisting the local group, which objects primarily on the grounds of increased traffic and parking problems. There are also concerns about religious and ethnic tensions - some of the congregation members are said to have fled persecution in the Middle East.
(NB: The Assyrian Church of the East is not connected to the Catholic Church. It is one of the Churches, like the Coptic Church, which split at the Council of Chalcedon in 451 AD.)
Photo: The Assyrian Catholic church at Coolaroo