Rockhampton cemetery
Rockhampton cemetery

Muslims want 'dedicated' plots to bury their loved ones

THE lack of a dedicated Muslim burial site in Rockhampton has meant Islamic families have had to send loved ones away to be buried, according to Dr Safwan Sayyal.

The president of the Islamic Society of Central Queensland said the region's Islamic population was increasing dramatically.

And so was the desire to have loved ones buried locally according to their religious beliefs and practices.

Religious values dictate there has to be a dedicated place for the burial of Muslims.

"As there has been no such facility available in the Rockhampton region, families have had to look for other options, which include using facilities in Brisbane or sending the deceased back to the country of his or her origin," Dr Sayyal said.

He cited the deaths last year of two members of the Islamic community, one of them a young father whose family had to send him home to India to be buried.

The emotional predicament prompted the ISCQ to ask the Rockhampton Regional Council if it could buy a number of contiguous grave sites at the Gracemere Cemetery to cater for the current and future needs of its community.

The Gracemere Cemetery fulfils the necessary requirements for Islamic burial.

"We have been pursuing this for some time," Dr Sayyal said. "There is a need for this in our community and we need to do something about it."

The Muslim population in CQ is close to 1000, a marked increase on 300 recorded in 2010.

Dr Sayyal attributed the growth to the number of refugees settling in the region.

But a recommendation to the parks and recreation committee meeting today is to decline the ISCQ's request to pre-purchase the sites at the Gracemere Cemetery.

However, the officer has recommended one or more sites be identified and reserved for future purchase, when required, by the ISCQ and/or people of Islamic faith.

According to a report, Rockhampton Regional Council cemeteries are currently operated as non-sectarian sites, providing for the burial of all denominations.



Bathing the deceased: The "washers" are commonly adult members of the immediate family and of the same gender as the deceased

Enshrouding the body: It is typically wrapped in a simple plain cloth (the kafan) to respect the dignity and privacy of the deceased

Funeral prayer: Muslims of the community gather to offer their collective prayers for the forgiveness of the dead

The burial: The body is placed in a grave without a casket, lying on its right side. The deceased is positioned so that the head is faced towards Mecca

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