Jan 13 2014
MUSLIM-ONLY cemetery for 4,000 people with 75 parking spaces proposed despite village having ONLY 613 residents. In Islam, the dead are traditionally buried without being placed in a casket, just dropped into the ground wearing only a white shroud.
UK Daily Mail Plans for a large, Muslim-only cemetery to be built on a plot of rural land have upset residents, who have publicly objected to the new development. People from Catherine-de-Barnes, near Solihull in the West Midlands, have objected to the ‘major development’, which will include space for 4,000 followers of Islam to be buried, and 75 parking spaces for visitors.
As the latest census figures give the village’s population as just 613, this means the cemetery could eventually hold six-and-a-half times as many people as Catherine-de-Barnes itself.
The cemetery would be able to comply fully with Sharia law – which stipulates a method of bathing and shrouding the bodies of Muslims, before they are buried with their heads facing towards Mecca.
Solihull Council has received several letters of complaint about the plans, which were proposed by Mohammed Moosa. The objections focus on the size of the cemetery, and the decision to place the patch on fertile land in the green belt.
One letter, from villager Karen Guest, 51, said: ‘We are amazed at yet another planning application on this beautiful arable land following the recent dogs’ home planning approval. (Dogs are preferable to dead Muslims) ‘If further applications are approved then sooner rather than later the whole acreage will be built up.’
Another, from Pam Gibbins, said: ‘I must protest vigorously. We are not talking about a small parochial cemetery, but a major development that will impact on the traffic system.’
Letters have also been received in support of the venture. One, signed by five supporters, said: ‘I agree that a Muslim cemetery would be preferred and beneficial for the Muslim residents in the borough of Solihull. ‘I would like to confirm the need for a private Muslim burial ground, which adheres to all Islamic bereavement values and laws.’
A planning statement from Cemetery Development Services said: ‘Few burial authorities are able to facilitate full Muslim burials in accordance with the practice of Sharia Law.’
Bob Sleigh, a member of the town council, said there is sufficient space already available at the borough’s two main cemeteries. He said: ‘The issue here is whether there is an over-riding need and I don’t believe there is.’
‘I do not believe this is an appropriate development in greenbelt land. Residents who have spoken to me, including the parish council and residents association, have concerns about the design and vehicles access. ‘The access road is a dangerous road and residents have concerns over the increase in traffic this development will cause.’
Dr Issam Ghannam, a Solihull Imam, said: ‘We have a growing Muslim population in Solihull. We have also an ageing population and plots are filling up. ‘The nearest Muslim cemetery is Handsworth and it can be extremely difficult for relatives to visit their loved ones.’