Mosque drops surfing Sheik as event guest speaker
THE Garden City Mosque has announced it is dropping controversial Imam Sheik Zainadine Johnson from an upcoming event.
Imam Johnson was due to speak at the mosque's open day on Sunday.
Professor Shahjahan Khan, founding president of the Toowoomba Islamic Society and speaker at the event, said the mosque had decided to drop Imam Johnson from the program so it could focus on promoting local unity of Toowoomba and surrounds.
"It's easier for us to work with Toowoomba Regional Council and university and religious leaders locally as we have done in the past.
"We want to continue on the same line that we have been working on - and Toowoomba is proud of that."
Imam Johnson was controversially sacked from his position at the Sunshine Coast as Imam after six months because - he claims - he posted a graphic image on Facebook of a bloodied man holding a knife.
But that was disputed by the Muslim Organisation Sunshine Coast which said he was sacked because there were not enough funds to support him.
Imam Zainadine - known as the surfing Sheik - once described the Australian flag as a "symbol of bloody colonial history" and was due to speak alongside Toowoomba Mayor Paul Antonio.
For the first time, a Jewish representative will speak at the Toowoomba mosque.
Ariel Heber is the president of Queensland Jewish Community Services and was invited as part of a drive by the mosque to foster religious harmony in the Toowoomba community.
Director of Multicultural Affairs Queensland Julie McDougall, Inspector Sharee Cummings, Dr Mark Copland, Cr Antonio and interim USQ Vice Chancellor Professor Janet Verbyla will also be among the speakers.
The open day is from 11am to 4pm at the mosque on 217 West St and will feature entertainment and an international food festival.
Dr Khan said about 50 Muslims from the mosque were invited to a local church recently which he called a "sharing faith" dinner.
"There were more than 150 people there and we want to maintain the spirit of unity," he said.