The Islamic community in the city of Santiago de Compostela is composed of approximately 2,000 people, but currently the city doesn’t have a place for Islamic burial rituals. The cost of a funeral in Spain is about 2,500 Euros, a cheaper price compared with the cost of the repatriation of a body (estimated between 6,000 and 8,000 Euros). The Muslim community of Santiago, taking advantage of the planned enlargement of the municipal cemetery, is claiming the building of a space reserved for Islamic burials in the municipal cemetery. At the moment, the council of the city hasn’t declared their position on this question.
The municipality of Vitoria is to consider the construction of a cemetery to suit the needs of its Muslim population, The city will meet this fall with representatives from its five mosques and the Islamic Communities Union in the Basque Country to negotiate the project, whose initial discussions date to the late 1990s when the Vitorian Mayor’s office destined 1,000 square meters in El Salvador for this use. The recent inauguration of a Muslim cemetery in Derio (opened in Oct, 2008 inside the Christian cemetery already built) seems to have provided new support to the project, explains Union President Ahmed El Hanafy.
The new cemetery would allow the believers to save the huge costs of sending the corpses back to their countries of origin. “We are not speaking about immigrants, but of the new generations, of Vitorian Muslims who want to be buried according to Islamic rituals“, says El Hanafy.
Construction of a Muslim cemetery in Amsterdam is on hold for the time being due to the costs, ND reports. Three years ago the city of Amsterdam set aside 416,000 euro for a Muslim cemetery to be placed in the Nieuwe Ooster cemetery. Although the process included much deliberation with the Islamic community, a committee reached an agreement in which the municipality and the Nieuwe Ooster cemetery itself contributed to the project. Construction was supposed to start last spring but has been put on hold due to the cost. When the project goes through, the cemetery would serve for at least twenty years, since most of the deceased Turks and Moroccans are buried in their homeland.
Austria’s first ever Islamic cemetery will see its first burial tomorrow (Fri). Omar Al-Rawi, a Social Democrat (SPÖ) municipal councillor and the person responsible for integration at the Islamic Believers Denomination (IG), said today the first body to be buried there would be that of a Moroccan who at worked for the UN in Vienna and died of illness. The service will take place after the daily prayers at the site in southern Vienna. Al-Rawi said the cemetery was available to every Muslim who died and parcels of land in it would be not sold or reserved for anyone. The cemetery would be open to all who wanted to visit it, just like any other, he added. Al-Rawi said the first bodies to be buried in the cemetery would be placed deep into the ground to allow the stacking of corpses in order to accommodate a maximum number of bodies, which he estimated to be 4,000.
The cemetery has a long history. The first discussions between IG and the city government about an Islamic cemetery started some 20 years ago and finally led to acceptance of a plan by both sides in 2001, when it was hoped the cemetery would be able to open in 2003. In the interim, archaeologists would conduct excavations on the 3.4 hectares of land in question.