Anti-Islamic sentiment has flared in Melbourne's eastern suburbs, with the planned renovation of a mosque near Monash University prompting a senior member of the local Uniting Church to claim mosques may provide a training ground for religious fanatics.

The Monash mosque is in a house owned by the university and used by about 1000 people, mostly staff and students, each week for prayers. However, the president of the Islamic Association of Monash Mosque, Mohamed Mohideen, said the house was too small to host the growing congregation, including international students and nearby residents.

The chairman of the Monash Uniting Church congregation, Richard Farrell, wrote to the Monash City Council at the end of October on church letterhead, opposing the planned development "on behalf of the Monash Uniting Church Congregation".

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