TEHRAN (IQNA) - Fighting hate with love, Queensland Muslim leaders asked Allah to forgive vandals of Toowoomba mosque, sending a message of peace to the Australian community, news agencies reported.
Queensland's lead Islamic spokesman has asked God to forgive whoever carried out a suspected arson attack that "almost completely destroyed" the Toowoomba mosque.
The attack which happened on Friday morning was the second time this year on the city's first mosque, and comes just two days before a planned open day at the holy place.
Fire fighters were able to extinguish the fire within an hour. Three months earlier, another fire destroyed nearly 80% of the mosque.
"God forgive them for what they've done," Islamic Council of Queensland spokesman Ali Kadri told Brisbane Times on Friday.
"At the same time I urge them that they try to live their life through peace and not hatred and instead of attacking Muslims in a peaceful place of worship they try to get to know some Muslims."
Friday's overnight attack has been condemned by city officials as an act to spoil the religious harmony in the area.
"This community works hard to nurture and celebrate peace," Toowoomba's mayor, Councilor Paul Antonio, said.
"This kind of behavior, frankly, is a terrible insult to the majority of good people who call our region home."
Defying the Islamophobic attack, Toowoomba's mayor assured residents that the annual food festival would be hosted by the Muslim community at the mosque.
Muslim leaders said they were heartened by the outpouring of support and the attendance of a large crowd at Sunday's festival.
"It is good to see so many people here," Islamic Society of Toowoomba president Professor Shahjahan Khan said of the festival.
Organized by the Garden City Mosque, the food festival was held at the University of Southern Queensland.
Exotic foods from across the Middle East, the Pacific, Asia and Europe were featured during the festival.
In another gesture of support, a woman in a wheelchair showed up outside Garden City mosque.
Bringing some wood, nails and a hammer the woman came to voice her opposition to intolerance and vandalism.
"I thought of making a sign saying something like 'Mosques are churches too and they are important to people', but then I thought they don't need words, they need building materials," Liz said.
"I just wanted to say 'here's some wood, rebuild'.
"Hopefully, other people will now help out too (with building materials)," she added.
The woman's gesture reflects the outpouring of support from the wider Toowoomba community.