Official Visit to the Toowoomba Garden City Mosque
Member for Toowoomba South, the Honourable Mr David Janetzki MP; Member for Toowoomba North, the Honourable Mr Trevor Watts MP; Federal Member for Groom, the Honourable Garth Hamilton MP; Mayor of Toowoomba, Councillor Paul Antonio and Councillors; Imam Mohammad Aminul Islam of Garden City Mosque; Reverend Bishop Robert McGuckin of the Catholic Diocese of Toowoomba; President of Islamic Society of Toowoomba, Professor Dr Shahjahan Khan; distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.
I begin by acknowledging the original custodians of the lands on which we gather, the Western Wakka Wakka, Giabal and Jarowair people, and pay my sincerest respects to Elders, past, present and emerging.
It is a great pleasure to be with you today in Toowoomba’s beautiful Garden City Mosque—a sacred place of worship and fellowship for the Muslim community in the Darling Downs region, and beyond.
Although this Mosque is built from bricks and mortar, it is the heart, spirit and courage of the people who saw it constructed—following the devastating dual arson attacks in 2015—that makes it an even more special place.
I am so delighted to see what has been achieved as a result of incredible determination and commitment; with the funds and passion to see it completed, coming from far and wide.
Today, it stands proud and strong: a testament to those of the Islamic faith, and the resilience and commitment of this community.
In particular, it is a tribute to the vision and drive of Professor Shahjahan Khan, who I know has done so much, over many years for your community, as founder of the Toowoomba Islamic Society, and as a respected academic at the University of Southern Queensland.
Professor Khan has been instrumental in fostering greater understanding and appreciation of Islam in Toowoomba, and I commend him for his truly remarkable contribution.
However, this has been a collective effort, and the fact that 5,000 people attended the Mosque Open Day and Food Festival at USQ just two days after the second devastating fire, shows that an appalling event such as this can unite rather than divide.
Today, the doors of this Mosque are open to everyone, irrespective of faith, welcoming all to experience the richness that cultural diversity brings. I am sure, as yours is the only Mosque between Brisbane and the vast west, you will continue to welcome many new worshippers and visitors.
I wish you every success as you celebrate the completion of your Mosque and pay my respects to the Board, Executive Committee and all supporters, particularly those in the Project Management team.
I thank you for your kind welcome and hospitality, as I look forward to enjoying the wonderful food you have graciously prepared and speaking with many of you over lunch.