New Zealand rugby Muslim superstar Sonny Bill Williams has criticized ‘racist fear-mongers’ opposing the construction of a new mosque in Sydney, warning that ‘Racism is well and truly alive’.
“Racism is well and truly alive in Botany St, Carlton Sydney,” Williams, 36, posted on his Instagram page alongside a picture of him next to some of the signs at the site, The Daily Mail reported.
“God willing we’ll be praying 365 DAYS, 5 TIMES A DAY at our new Masjid very soon. May the most high eradicate racism from our society.”
Williams was commenting on racist signs left by locals at the Carlton building site opposing the new mosque.
Williams, who lives in the Carlton area, said that the mosque was long awaited for Muslims who currently have to travel across the city to pray. The new mosque will host up to 120 people for prayers.
He dismissed residents’ claims about increased traffic saying there was already a school on the same street and another nearby.
“There are thousands of Muslim families in the area, and we don’t have a place we can go to worship,” Williams told the Daily Telegraph. “Unfortunately this is fear mongering.
“The Muslim community has been here in the Carlton area since 1950s and has never had a mosque.
“The more places of worship, Christian churches, Jewish synagogues, mosques in the area makes me happy because I know people are being taught good morals and ethics.”
Georges River Association president Benjamin Wang denied local opposition to the mosque was racist, saying the building location was not appropriate.
However, a council report found: “There is a shortage of Muslim places of worship in the Carlton area.
“The proposed mosque provides a much-needed facility for the local Muslim community to undertake religious practice.”
Born in 1985, Williams is a top-notch rugby star in New Zealand. Williams converted to Islam 12 years ago while playing for Toulon in France.
Williams showed leadership after Christchurch mosque attacks, inviting New Zealanders to learn more about Islam.