A council in Melbourne's north has approved a controversial proposal to build a mosque next to an Assyrian Christian church.
Police stood guard outside a meeting of the Hume City Council in Broadmeadows Monday night while councillors voted on the application to build the mosque at Coolaroo.
The building will share a boundary with St Mary's Ancient Church of the East which is the place of worship for Catholics who fled religious persecution in the Middle East.
There were more than 1,000 objections to the proposal.
A spokesman for the mosque, Sheik Ali Dirani, says most of the objections related to infrastructure issues but says international tensions did play a part.
"There is tension in the Middle East but I'd like to believe that we can, in Australia, co-exist with one another and we learn to do that," he said.
"I've offered my assistance in counselling, in sitting down and having dialogue so these problems can be resolved."