UPDATE: Anti-mosque stealth fails with third cancellation
After the Facebook group 'Stop the Mosque Gladstone' had hoped to keep the location of its meeting on Saturday secret, the group was knocked back by a third venue.
Following cancellations from the Rocky Glen Hotel and the Gladstone RSL and Bowls Club, the Gladstone Thistle and Pipe Band confirmed it cancelled the meeting after the committee voted it down.
Should the Stop the Mosque group be allowed to book a public venue?
This poll ended on 01 November 2015.
Yes, free speech is important and venues should accept all groups.
No, their cause is hateful and venues have the right to deny their services.
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
Although the decision to cancel the meeting was not unanimous, the president of the pipe band, Mark Munro, said they did not want to be associated with the group.
"At the time of the booking the treasurer knew what the meeting was all about but when the committee came together we decided it wasn't in our best interest," he said.
"It doesn't fit our policy and we don't want to lose funding from groups in the community. It's more of a moral thing."
Kim Vuga said supporters would still meet on Saturday at 4.30pm on the corner of Railway St and Side St but she wouldn't comment on whether the group had found another venue.
Ms Vuga planned to be in Gladstone tonight.
"Nobody is going to stop me. I'll fight it and we will form a committee," she said.
LENDING itself to militaristic overtones, the Facebook group 'Stop the Mosque Gladstone' has dubbed its latest update on the anti-mosque meeting in Gladstone as "Aussies by Stealth".
Kim Vuga updated her supporters on Facebook on the venue change but kept the exact location of the meeting a secret.
"We have been offered a hall from a private group," she wrote on Facebook.
"We have to play it this way to make sure the meeting goes ahead undisturbed."
The decision to withhold the location of the latest meeting comes after the group's previous bookings were cancelled by the Rocky Glen Hotel and the Gladstone RSL and Bowls Club amid concerns hosting the event would impact negatively on their businesses.
Kim Vuga advised her supporters to meet on the corner of Railway St and Side St at the Memorial Sports Field on Saturday at 4.30pm.
She said directions to the new venue would be given on the day.
"My apologies but this is the only way we can play them at their own game," she wrote.
UPDATE October 22, 11:12am
THE Stop the Mosque group have hit another road block with the Gladstone RSL and Bowls Club cancelling the booking for Saturday's meeting - the second in two days after the Rocky Glen cancelled the first booking.
On the group's Facebook page Townsville organiser Kim Vuga wrote "It is a sad day when you can no longer have freedom of speech in our country."
She wrote that the bowls club pulled out because major sponsors were threatening to stop sponsoring the club if the meeting went ahead.
But club manager Peter Liddle said they had received a fair bit of public feedback since taking the booking.
"The committee thought it was in the best interest of the club if the meeting didn't go ahead," he said.
"We have no malice and we're not a political club. We're a members club trying to make money to keep us viable.
"We're just a venue that hired out the hall. We didn't know what it was we just hired it out but we had to make this decision for the members and the club. We're trying to survive like most businesses in Gladstone."
ORIGINAL STORY October 21:
THE 'Stop the Mosque Gladstone' Facebook group will now hold their meeting at the Gladstone Bowls Club on Sunday 25 October at 4.30pm.
The group originally planned to hold the anti-Islamic meeting at the Rocky Glen Hotel on Saturday but the hotel cancelled the event.
Taking to Facebook, people in Gladstone have raised concerns over the meeting and urged the Gladstone Bowls Club to reconsider hosting the event.
CAPITALISING on the anti-Islamic sentiment that has been whipped up by the Facebook group 'Stop the Mosque Gladstone', founder Kim Vuga had hoped to hold an "information session" at the Rocky Glen Hotel on Saturday.
But the group was stopped in its tracks after the Rocky Glen Hotel said it could not be held at its venue.
Joe Irvin - who is the director of the Paul Irvin Hotels group that owns Rocky Glen Hotel - said he didn't want his business involved in an event that has the potential to impact negatively.
"Accordingly we cancelled the meeting at the hotel."
"When we found out last night that it was actually an anti-Islamic meeting and we had calls from people wanting to protest that we were having such a meeting, we made the call that this was not the appropriate venue to hold such a meeting," Mr Irvin said.
He also said Saturday was race day, which is historically a busy day for the local hotel.
Undeterred, Ms Vuga - who lives in Townsville and featured in the latest SBS documentary 'Go Back to Where You Came From' - said she planned to be in Gladstone this Saturday "rain, hail or shine."
"There will be a meeting on Saturday regardless. If we have to do it on the streets then that's what we will do," she said.
But it turns out she won't need to take her cause to the street, having already secured a venue at the Gladstone Bowls Club.
She updated her supporters on Facebook, writing: "We have a better venue…We will not be intimidated and we will not be silenced."
The anti-Islamic Facebook group - which already has close to 4,000 likes, with no way of knowing how many of those are local people - was formed by Ms Vuga in opposition to the Islamic Society of Gladstone's proposal to build an Islamic Centre in Gladstone.
The Islamic Society currently uses the CWA hall in Gladstone for services and hopes to set up a permanent structure that would be open to the public and provide a central meeting point for more than 150 Muslim people in the region.
Although Mayor Gail Sellers confirmed the Islamic Society had approached the council's development section with "preliminary enquiries" only, Ms Vuga wants to set up a "Concerned Resident's Action Committee" to fight the development of any proposed mosques or Islamic Centres in Gladstone.
Ms Vuga labeled the Islamic Society of Gladstone's proposal to build an Islamic Centre - and not a mosque - as "just an attempt to water down" what the primary role of the centre would be.
"It's irrelevant what it looks like. If it's a regular place of prayer then it's no different than a mosque," she said.
Ms Vuga said she respected the Rocky Glen Hotel's decision to cancel the meeting and hoped local supporters would not harass the venue.