By Janine Cohen.
The businesswoman leading a fight against “intolerance and hate” in Bendigo says the city’s anti-mosque demonstrations must be stopped before they spread across Australia.
The central Victorian city has been the flashpoint for a series of rowdy demonstrations against the construction of a local mosque.
“I very strongly believe that the anti-mosque protesting can be stopped in its tracks here in Bendigo,” Margot Spalding, a former Telstra Business Woman of the Year, told Australian Story. Following an anti-mosque protest in August, Ms Spalding called a meeting of religious, business and community leaders, and the Believe in Bendigo campaign was launched.
“The idea that people would come to Bendigo from outside and protest about a mosque being built here took a lot of people by surprise,” said Reverend John Roundhill, Dean of the Anglican Church in Bendigo.
“People were not expecting the degree of anger and hate that we witnessed that day.”