The site of the Muslim place of worship in Maroochydore, where prayers will now be allowed five times a day.
The site of the Muslim place of worship in Maroochydore, where prayers will now be allowed five times a day. Warren Lynam

Maroochydore mosque prayer restrictions lifted

MUSLIMS on the Sunshine Coast will be allowed to answer the call to prayer five times a day after Sunshine Coast Council lifted restrictions on their Maroochydore mosque.

Muslim Organisation Sunshine Coast (MOSC) has responded by offering an assurance that extreme consideration will be given to ensuring the dawn service doesn't interfere with the community.

A council spokesman said the appeal to the controversial approval of the Church St site was finalised by the Planning and Environment Court on June 3.

The MOSC appealed a council decision to restrict worship on the site to three hours a week.

This has now been changed to recognise the traditional five daily prayers, which include the worship service or main prayer at midday on a Friday. 

The limit on the hours of operation is now from 4.30am to 10pm, seven days a week. 

No amplified sound would be allowed outside the building and only at speaking level within the building.

The number of people allowed to use the site has still been restricted to 25 for worship activities and 40 people attending twice-yearly activities.

A condition was added to allow school excursions with a limit of 60 people, including no more than six adults, up to 12 times a year.

The MOSC spokesman said the community was pleased at the positive outcome, which was settled out of court.

"We put in an arbitration as we did not want to fight with council. We came to an agreement which could work for everyone," he said.

"This was always our intention.

"The sticking point was that we could only use the building at a specific time and we said 'we pray five times a day'.

"This is not saying someone will be there, but we would like to have ease of being able to use it.

"We assured the council we would give no troubles. The very early sunrise prayer, not a lot of people turn up.

"It's really two or three people who will quietly park their cars and quietly say their prayers in 10 minutes.

"It has never been our intention to make it a sticking point for the community.

"We went to the council to ask them to reconsider. They took their time and they did it."

The spokesman said the Muslim community understood the need to restrict access to the site to 25 people most days.

"This is a reasonable argument because of the building and there is not enough parking to cater for certain number of people

"We are happy with it. We don't want to go against the regulations."

Operational works, including a footpath, needed to happen before the site could be properly utilised.

Despite terror attacks arundd the world, the spokesman said he believed attitudes towards Muslims were changing on the Sunshine Coast.

"We want to say to people 'this is me. What you see in the media is not the reality'.

"Kindly come and see me, I don't have a beard and I don't want to harm anyone. I'm here to be part of the community.

"We are all moving forward in this regard and are looking at integration into the community.

"Our aim is to make sure everyone on the Coast gets a positive message."