Shropshire

Shropshire Muslims frustrated over cemetery wait

Sohayb Peerbhai
Image caption Sohayb Peerbhai says he is becoming "increasingly frustrated" over the delays

Members of a Muslim community said they are becoming increasingly frustrated by delays in their request for a dedicated burial space in a cemetery.

People living in south Shropshire say they first asked Ludlow Town Council for an area in Henley Road cemetery back in October 2015.

Craven Arms imam, Sohayb Peerbhai, said they felt the request for a plot for 20 burials had been "shoved aside".

The council said it did not intend to cause any distress to the community.

Mr Peerbhai said the initial request was made to the council's services committee. Since then, there have been three funerals, each of them in different locations, because there are no available burial areas in south Shropshire.

He said families have also had to pay increased fees because burials are taking place outside their area, as well as facing a greater distance to visit relatives.

He said Craven Arms did have two dedicated areas, but they were full.

"In Islamic religion and scriptures we are told to regularly go to a graveyard and pray for the deceased and there is a certain Islamic prayer we would pray," he said.

"So we would need to identify where we are going - that doesn't mean in any way to say that we are separating ourselves from the wider community."

Image copyright Google Maps
Image caption Ludlow town council said works to provide the space in the Henley Road Cemetery was progressing

He added: "This would just be a small section were Muslims are buried.

"Ludlow Cemetery already has a Catholic section, they also have a baby section.

"We can't see why we can't have a Muslim section."

The town council said it wanted to apologise to the imam and the local community if they felt "misled" over the timescale for the development.

It added: "The town council wish to assure the whole Muslim community in Ludlow that the project to develop the final section of Henley Road Cemetery is progressing."

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