The Muslim community in Somerset is asking for a dedicated Islamic graveyard to accommodate the increasing population, complaining that the closest cemetery situated miles away in Bristol.
“Something needs to be started in Taunton because the Muslim community and the demography is growing,” Meraz Aziz, from the British Bangladeshi Association, told BBC.
“The diversity and all the minority communities here, they need to be looked after.”
Aziz said Muslim representatives had met Somerset West and Taunton Council and would submit a planning bid next year.
“We’ve already spoken to a few councilors. They are very positive about that, they say they will try to get something for us this time,” he said.
The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) said: “burial space across the UK is becoming an increasing problem”.
MCB secretary general Harun Khan blamed the lack of burial space either on “a shortage of space in urban areas where there is a high concentration of Muslims” or “because there isn’t a burial space for Muslims in the vicinity of smaller communities”.
“This is something that does need to be addressed by faith leaders and local authorities to ensure there is sufficient provision of burial space for Muslim communities across Britain,” he added.
Islam calls for respecting human beings whether alive or dead.
A Muslim’s dead body should be immediately taken to a mortuary for washing and preparation.
Two or three adult Muslims should wash the body and then put on the shroud (kafan). Muslims perform a funeral prayer before the burial.
It is makruh (reprehensible) to delay the burial of the dead.
“Islamic practices for burial are in line with the Jewish tradition, with Muslims striving to bury the dead as soon as possible after death,” Khan said.