A mosque being built in Cairns has been vandalised just months after local Islamic leaders received hate mail depicting Muslims as terrorists.
The symbol of Islam, the crescent moon, was ripped from the roof of the Dunn St mosque about 2am on Monday. The symbol, which Muslims describe as important as the cross is to Christians, has yet to be found.
In the early stages of its construction, the mosque’s walls were smashed with sledgehammers and the centre’s mailbox was stuffed with drawings of Muslims dressed as terrorists. The letters were signed off from the Atheist Society of Cairns – believed to be a fake organisation.
“I just hope people can see Muslims in Australia have never done anything to anyone,” said Wesley, a local Islamic follower who felt scared to give his last name. “This mosque is not just open to Muslims, it’s open to anybody in the community who wants to pray to God.”
A 70-year-old retiree, who lives next to the mosque, said she saw torch lights and the voices of about three adults at the time of the crescent moon theft. “I just heard noises down the back and looked and saw torch lights and I thought ‘Oh my god, what should I do’,” said the woman who didn’t want to be named.
The mosque, which is replacing a small house that has been used since 2002, has come under fire since a court appeal to stop its construction was dumped in June last year.
Local residents protested outside the building earlier this year while an anti-Islamic website calling on supporters nationwide to oppose the mosque was launched last year.