IN response to Mr John Kilgour's letter to the editor, June 28, I would like to remark on some of the comments he made.
Firstly John, I object to you invoking the members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) who have been lost in combat and using them in your argument against providing a burial service to the Muslim people of Naracoorte.
There are Australian soldiers buried at Lone Pine cemetery, Gallipoli Peninsula, Turkey.
You should be aware that Turkey is a Muslim country, and that the battle between our armies during World War I created a bond of mutual respect, admiration and friendship.
"The warm sentiments developed between Turkish and Australian nations were best voiced in the message of the Great Leader Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, which was sent to the Australian and New Zealander mothers in 1934 and is as follows: 'Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives...you are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets where they lie side by side here in this country of ours...You the mothers who sent their sons from far away countries, wipe away your tears. Your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. Having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well."" (Wikipedia).
Perhaps you could follow the example of others who have learnt from the sacrifice of our soldiers and build a bridge of friendship through conciliation, tolerance and mutual respect, at least try to please.
Secondly, when the township of Naracoorte was first established I would assume the migrant population volunteered time and money to establish a cemetery/burial ground, and at that time there were no Muslim migrants.
If the council were to develop a new cemetery today, all ratepayers, Christian, Muslim, New Age etc would have to pay for it.
The Naracoorte Lucindale Council is affording the local Muslim population with the same rights we all enjoy, at small cost.
As one councillor said to me, the council will probably end up making money on the development, as just like everyone else, anybody buried in the cemetery will have to pay funeral expenses.
Most Australians take great pride in being a "fair go" country. Perhaps you and the whole community could give the NLC and our Muslim neighbours a fair go, people's reaction to this subject has been quite hot-headed, ignorant and prejudiced.
We are all free to choose what or who we put our faith in, be it a football team or an idol.
So, who really thinks Australia's, particularly Naracoorte's, culture and society is not strong enough to incorporate different faiths and cultures? We are strong.
ANDREW KESTER, Naracoorte.