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Muslim cemeteries seen as 'long-term investments'
by Tony Ganzer
Switzerland's tendency to allow cantons or towns to decide certain issues sometimes makes for piece-meal solutions, and such is the case with special sections of cemeteries for different religions. The oldest "Muslim" cemetery was established in 1978 in Geneva's Petit- Saconnex, after local Muslims came to an agreement with local officials. Though not without controversy, many cities have since found solutions to allow special burials, with Lucerne being one of the last major cities to do so. WRS's Tony Ganzer reports that the Muslim cemetery there has been only moderately used so far, but that might not be a problem.
Cornel Suter stands on a gravel pathway near a plot of land covered in purple, white and yellow wildflowers, wooden and stone headstones line one side. Suter is the head of Lucerne's city cemetery, and he says since this Muslim section was installed in 2008 just 10 people have been buried here—7 adults and 3 children.
He says this number is as expected, or maybe they expected a few more. But the low number is explainable, and will surely increase in the future.
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