Cemetery developers are running into vigorous opposition across the United States as they seek to establish burial places for Muslims who leave this vale of tears.
The politics of Muslim cemeteries have sprung up recently in Dudley, Mass. (pop.: 11,390); Walpole, Mass. (pop.: 24,070); Farmington, Minnesota (pop.: 21,086); Carlisle, Pennsylvania (pop.: 18,916); and Farmersville, Texas (pop.: 3,301), reports the Associated Press.
Those 5 towns in 4 states have little in common — except, perhaps, that they range in size from small to tiny.
The proposed Muslim burial place in Dudley, Mass. would be located on a long-dormant dairy farm and would have about 500 graves.
Foes of the Dudley project argue that the buried bodies could contaminate the local ground water supply because Muslim tradition — like Jewish tradition — does not allow embalming. Muslim tradition also does not incorporate coffins.
Other concerns cited by opponents in Dudley include the potential for vandalism and for increased traffic on a narrow road leading to the dormant dairy farm.
“You want a Muslim cemetery? Fine. Put it in your backyard, not mine,” resident Daniel Grazulis said during February zoning meeting in February, according to The Associated Press. The comment drew an ovation.
In Farmersville, Texas, a contingent of residents has opposed the construction of a 35-acre Muslim cemetery just outside the city limits.
Some opponents have focused on the externalities the graveyard may produce. For example, the proposed cemetery site — with its sweeping lake vista — may not be properly maintained, argues Farmersville business owner Diane Piwko.
“I am not basing any of my decision on why I’m against the cemetery on religion,” Piwko said, according to the Associated Press. “I base it on bad business practices.”
Other people in Farmersville just frankly don’t like Muslims very much.
“Their goal is to populate the United States and take it over.” resident Barbara Ashcraft said during a public meeting on the issue, according to the AP.
Farmersville — the hometown of notorious Tate-LaBianca murderer Tex Watson — is about 30 miles from the Dallas suburb of Garland, which is where the “First Annual Muhammad Art Exhibit and Contest” occurred in 2015, and where police shot and killed a pair of Muslim terrorists who attempted to ambush the event.
Farmersville municipal leaders have assured concerned locals that the cemetery will not feature a mosque or any sort of training facility.
The basic story has been the same in other towns dotting the American landscape. In Minnesota and Pennsylvania, though, judges have overruled the zoning board decisions to deny Muslim cemetery permits as “arbitrary and capricious.”
American Muslim leaders say the rejection of Muslim cemeteries suggests anti-Islam prejudice.
“We were absolutely flabbergasted, to be honest, to see that kind of opposition,” Ismail Fenni of Al-Marhama Islamic Burial told the AP as he recalled the level of animosity in Walpole, Mass.
“All we’re trying to establish is a place for a final resting place for the loved ones of the Muslim community members,” Fenni added. “No other activity is going to be happening in a cemetery except what is customary for a cemetery.”