Islamic group drops cemetery plan in Massachusetts town

WORCESTER, Mass. — An Islamic group no longer plans to build a Muslim cemetery in a small Massachusetts town following a contentious fight for approval.

The Islamic Society of Greater Worcester announced Thursday it’s dropping its plan for a cemetery in the town of Dudley. The group says it wants to build in Worcester instead.

On Wednesday, federal officials announced they had closed an investigation into whether Dudley violated the civil rights of the group when the town rejected the cemetery proposal. The town later agreed to allow the group to build a cemetery.

Texas Residents Condemn Plan for Muslim Cemetery

DALLAS — A proposal to bring a Muslim cemetery to Farmersville has stoked fears among residents who are vehemently trying to convince community leaders to block the project. The sentiment reflects an anti-Muslim distrust that has been brewing over the last year in parts of Texas, most notably 25 miles away in Garland — the scene of a deadly May shooting outside a cartoon contest lampooning the Prophet Muhammad.

Some oppose the project because it would attract Muslims, while others expressed concern that Muslim burial practices — Muslims traditionally don’t bury their dead in caskets — would present health risks for residents.  Burial experts dismiss such concerns and comments as nonsense.

“Some thought it was a mosque going to be built, others thought it was a training ground,” Abdur-Rashid told WFAA-TV. “We want to be very clear that this is a cemetery.”

Lorraine opens new Muslim burial plot

Between 150 and 200 people assisted at the inauguration of the Barthou cemetery, the new cemetery of Vandœuvre-lès-Nancy. The new cemetery contains a section of plots for Muslims that is over 2,000 m². The new burial plot is the result of “a long process,” according to Saïd Derbani, President of the Association of Muslims of Lorraine (AML), that, for ten years, has supported the project. While the city’s primary cemetery has a section of plots for Muslims, it has been full for many years.

The cemetery is responding to a “real need,” stated Derbani. He explained that in recent years there has been a shift from believers wanting to be buried in their home countries, to a new generation that wishes to be buried in France. “A 90 year-old woman who converted [to Islam] would ask me every time she saw me where she would be buried,” he said. As a result the new section is a source of “relief” for many.

“Integration takes place during active life. But also in the ground,” Derbani contended. “According to the Ministry of the Interior’s statistics, between 75% and 80% of Muslims who died in France are repatriated to their home countries to be buried. But it is clear that the number of those wishing to be buried in France has not stopped growing, notably within the new generations.

“It is more normal for citizens who have spent the majority of their life on French soil and for their children who have only known the homeland of France,” declared Amine Nedji, president of the Lorraine Regional Council of the Muslim Faith.

There are more than 200 Muslim plots in France. However, “This number is less than the growing need. It’s often due to the lack of political willingness that the memorandum is not found in certain towns. This is due to two reasons: certain politicians have a truncated and biased reading of the principle of secularism…Others simply prefer simply to close the discussion on the subject,” said Nedji.

The need is growing as there are estimated to be over five million Muslims living in France.

More Muslim burials without legal obligation for coffins

November 7, 2013

 

Like other German cities and States, the city of Rüsselsheim in the State of Hesse permits Muslims to bury their dependent community members according to Islamic faith and rituals. The graves are headed towards Mekka and include religious texts. Since March 1st 2013, the cemetery and funeral law of Hesse permits a burial without coffin but shroud. Also, the Islamic ablution is allowed. The law reform was implemented to offer Muslims an alternative opportunity to bury their deceased in Germany without returning them to their countries of origin.

 

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung: http://www.faz.net/aktuell/rhein-main/region/neue-grabfelder-ohne-sargpflicht-mehr-muslimische-bestattungen-12651411.html

Immigrants: Imam Catania Makes Plea for Cemetery in Catania

(Adnkronos) – “We are still sad, our hearts cry for the innocent victims of Lampedusa, we pray for their souls so that these people can rest in peace. For many years we ask the cemetery for us Muslims. We are in trouble, and I know that in Catania, for example, the city administration is working very hard to make it happen. Right now in the south of Italy there is just a cemetery for Muslims in Reggio Calabria.” Said the Imam of Catania, Mufid Abu Touq , emphasizing the difficulties of sending bodies back to their country of origin. “Normally for our dead we ship them to their country of origin. But this costs around 3-4 thousand euro, and not everyone can deal with this expense and so some are buried in local Christian cemeteries, although this, to tell the truth” he concludes “is against the rules of Islam.”

SWITZERLAND: No Muslims in the Cemetery

On Monday, The City Council of Schlieren, a town of 13,000 inhabitants on the outskirts of Zurich, rejected a proposal to create a space for Muslims within the town’s cemetery.

Many religious organizations have reacted branding the decision as a “regrettable setback in integration policy.” This is a particular travesty because 16.5% of the population of the town are Muslim.

Virginia county officials say they’re trying to determine if laws broken in Marathon bombing suspect’s secret burial

DOSWELL, Va. — Officials in the county where the remains of suspected Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev have been buried say they were stunned to learn of the burial and they are looking into whether the law was followed in the process.

“As long as everything was done legally, there’s really very little we can do,” said Floyd Thomas, chairman of the board of supervisors of Caroline County. “What we would do is make sure that all of the laws regarding this particular burial were adhered to. If they were not, then I believe we would have to look at undoing what happened.”

Caroline County Sheriff Tony Lippa Jr. said he had alerted Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli about the incident, and was told Cuccinelli was looking into whether all laws were followed.

Tsarnaev was buried in a small Muslim cemetery in Doswell, a community about 15 miles from Richmond, the state capital.

Tsarnaev’s remains are interred at the Al-Barzakh Cemetery, the first Muslim cemetery in central Virginia, according to the Virginia woman who helped arrange the burial and to Islamic Funeral Services of Virginia.

Va. woman says faith prompted her efforts to help get Boston Marathon bombing suspect buried

DOSWELL, Va. — The Virginia woman whose actions led to Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev being buried about 30 miles north of her Richmond home said the angry backlash from local officials, some cemetery neighbors and online critics has been unpleasant, but she has no regrets.

 

“I can’t pretend it’s not difficult to be reviled and maligned,” Martha Mullen told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Friday. “But any time you can reach across the divide and work with people that are not like you, that’s what God calls us to do.”

 

Tsarnaev, 26, was quietly buried Thursday at a small Islamic cemetery in rural Caroline County. His body had remained at a Worcester, Mass., funeral parlor since he was killed April 19 in a gunfight with police, days after the bombings that killed three and injured more than 260 in downtown Boston. Cemeteries in Massachusetts and several other states refused to accept the remains. With costs to protect the funeral home mounting, Worcester police appealed for help finding a place to bury Tsarnaev.

 

Mullen said she was at a Starbucks when she heard a radio news report about the difficulty finding a burial spot for Tsarnaev.

“My first thought was Jesus said love your enemies,” she said.

Then she had an epiphany.

“I thought someone ought to do something about this — and I am someone,” Mullen said.

So Mullen, a mental health counselor in private practice and a graduate of United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio, sent emails to various faith organizations to see what could be done. She heard back from Islamic Funeral Services of Virginia, which arranged for a funeral plot at the Al-Barzakh cemetery. “It was an interfaith effort,” she said.

Caroline County Sheriff Tony Lippa was concerned, too, that the grave site could become a target for vandals and a shrine for those who sympathize with Tsarnaev.

Boston bombing suspect buried in Virginia

DOSWELL, Va. — Martha Mullen was on her way to Starbucks on Tuesday when she heard on the radio that Massachusetts officials couldn’t find a cemetery willing to bury Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev.
“My first thought was, Jesus says love your enemies and not hate them after they’re dead,” Mullen, a Richmond mental health counselor and seminary school graduate, said Friday.
“My second thought was, okay, we can bury Adam Lanza, you know. Or the guy who shot up [Virginia] Tech,” added Mullen, 48. “And this guy for some reason is different. And the only difference that I can tell is that people think that he’s a terrorist or he’s a foreigner or he’s Muslim.”
Her third thought: Maybe she could help. With a flurry of e-mails and calls to faith leaders in Richmond and police officials in Massachusetts, she wound up facilitating Tsarnaev’s burial at a small Islamic cemetery in Doswell.
News trucks and photographers flocked to the site Friday, until a cemetery representative shooed them away. Bukhari ¬Abdel-Alim, vice president of Islamic Funeral Services of Virginia, the nonprofit organization that owns the site, declined to say which of the graves Tsarnaev occupied.

Future Mayor of Catania needs to create a cemetery for Muslims

Francesco Bianco

April 17, 2013

Imam Mufid Abu Touq explained that “The future mayor [of Catania needs to] create a cemetery for us Muslims. ” Further the Imam explains, “Catania needs a mayor who does not look for his own interests but who works for the people of this city.”