Setting aside Islamic graves in Rocky will comfort community

SETTING aside an area for Islamic graves at the Gracemere Cemetery would bring comfort to their community, Rose Swadling said yesterday.

The Rockhampton councillor was responding to a recommendation made to the council's parks and recreation committee meeting.

The Islamic Society of Central Queensland had asked the council if it could pre-purchase the gravesites to cater for the current and future needs of its growing community.

Society president Dr Safwan Sayyal said that a lack of a dedicated Muslim burial site in Rockhampton meant Islamic families had to send loved ones away to be buried.

The committee accepted the recommendation that the council decline ISCQ's offer to pre-purchase the gravesites.

Instead it would identify and reserve one or more areas of contiguous gravesites for future purchase, when required, by ISCQ and/or those of Islamic faith.

Committee chair Cr Cherie Rutherford said the decision would meet the requirements of the ISCQ, while also allowing the council to develop the cemetery as needed.

She also said it was not unusual for cemeteries to be laid out in religious groupings.

Dr Sayyal said that he welcomed any decision that would allow Muslims to practise their religious beliefs.

"Death is something that is not predictable - anyone can die at any time," he said yesterday.

He said he had experienced firsthand the extra emotional burden placed on families who could not bury their loved ones locally.

Religious values dictate there has to be a dedicated burial site for Muslims.

Dr Sayyal said that had meant Central Queensland families had to go to Brisbane for burials or return the deceased to the country of their origin.



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