ISLAM A PART OF AUSTRALIA: Gympie accountant Shahid Khan says his religion has been part of Australia since the gold rush and the arrival of the Afghani camel drivers who delivered mail and goods in the outback.
ISLAM A PART OF AUSTRALIA: Gympie accountant Shahid Khan says his religion has been part of Australia since the gold rush and the arrival of the Afghani camel drivers who delivered mail and goods in the outback. Contributed

LETTERS: Would you be OK with Muslim prayers in council?

I NOTED in the story Calls to dump the prayer at meetings that a Bundaberg Regional Council spokesperson said "it had not received any request that non-Christian religious observances should be held before meetings or prayers should be removed".

This is entirely false.

I sent a letter urging the removal of the prayer from meetings to the CEO of the council on August 15, 2016, and I received a letter from Mayor Jack Dempsey on August 16, 2016, in response.

The mayor's letter stated that the tradition will continue with the relevant chaplain.

Religion needs to be removed from all levels of politics.

Can you imagine the protest from Bundaberg's Christian community if a Muslim invocation was held?

Australia is becoming more secular every year and the various levels of government have to recognise this.

Surely the council can govern without the help of imaginary friends.

- Curtis John Yates, member, Bundaberg Skeptics


BROKEN promises and missed deadlines by Adani and their political puppets are wearing thin, as financiers, who would be falling over each other if they thought they could make any money from the project, are all shunning the mine.

There are ample viable coal mines in Australia that are working at well below capacity as the demand is slowly but surely declining.

They could and would meet any potential new customers' needs, including India, without the need to open new mines.

These existing operations are producing high-quality coal with transport and shipping operations already in place, so it is little wonder that the financiers continue to give thumbs down to Adani.

The political game has changed, with the conservatives now blaming Bill Shorten for the problems facing Adani, as they do with every catastrophe that has befallen the LNP since 2013.

- Max Tanzer, Elliott Heads


THE birth of a chimpanzee at Rockhampton Zoo the other day is hardly a cause for celebration.

This baby animal has been born into a life of imprison- ment as a living display.

Zoo breeding programs give the public a false sense that something meaningful is happening to save animals, when in reality they serve no conservation purpose, because animals born in zoos are rarely, if ever, returned to their natural habitats.

In fact, the zoo has stated that "the future of chimps could be in captivity".

The physical and mental stress of constant captivity and the loss of all freedom, including when and what to eat and what to do, leads zoo animals to display abnormal, neurotic and even self- destructive behaviour.

With today's incredible technology, virtual field trips, IMAX movies and wildlife documentaries there are far better ways to teach children about the wonders of the animal kingdom than visiting depressed animals held in captivity.

We urge everyone who genuinely cares about chimps and all the other animals serving life sentences in zoos to recognise these institutions for what they are - prisons with living exhibits.

Let's refuse to patronise them and instead donate to campaigns that actually protect animals in their native habitats.

- Desmond Bellamy, special projects co-ordinator, PETA Australia


SHADE is an essential part of sun protection - which is why we've partnered with the Queensland Government to help keep children and young adults covered this year.

Not-for-profit organ- isations catering for children and young people aged 0-18 are invited to apply for up to 50 per cent matched funding for a portable or permanent shade structure through the 2018 SunSmart Shade Creation Initiative.

The Palaszczuk Government has provided $870,000 of funding across three years to ensure schools, junior sporting and community clubs, and childcare centres, have adequate sun safe areas.

If your organisation fits the criteria and you need more shade, I urge you to apply.

Safeguarding our children from the harmful effects of UV radiation will reduce the risk of them developing skin cancer later in life.

Sun protection remains the best defence against skin cancer and is required when the UV Index is three and above, which is all year round in Queensland.

Shade is a practical, user-friendly form of sun protection and research shows that if shade is available, people will use it.

Last year, 88 Queensland schools, sporting and community clubs, and childcare centres benefited from new shade structures as part of this initiative - this year it could be you.

Applications close at 5pm on Friday, March 9. To apply, complete the online application form at

- Chris McMillan, chief executive officer, Cancer Council Queensland