Over the past decades the numbers of Muslims in Western-Europe has rapidly increased and with that the need for Islamic burial sites. A fundraising initiative in the Netherlands has collected half of the needed €410,000 ($447,521) needed for the new facility.
An increasing demand for Islamic cemeteries in Western-Europe
During the 60’s countries like Germany, Belgium, France and the Netherlands imported laborers mainly from Turkey and Morocco. Over the years these groups have made Western-Europe their home.
Most of the first generation Muslims in Western-Europe prefer to be buried in their country of birth. However, there is a growing demand from second and third generations to be buried in Western-Europe. Additionally, immigrants from war torn countries like Syria and Iraq currently do not have the opportunity to be buried in their birth country and need a final resting place in line with their religious values.
Islamic burials are traditional and vary from standard Western-European burials. An Islamic burial generally takes place within 24-hours of the passing and the deceased is buried in a shroud without a casket with the head facing Mecca.
Islamic burial plots are never to be exhumed, unlike common Western-European practice where burial plots are exhumed after 10, 15 or 20 years.
Five more months left to collect donations
The collected donations are needed to purchase a private cemetery in Zuidlaren, the Netherlands. It is projected that Western-European’s largest Islamic cemetery will have a capacity of 1400 plots. The cemetery will be about 5400 sqm (58152sqf) and a burial plot will be €3,000 ($3,275).
Head of the initiative Hamed Amrino, says that the deadline for the fundraiser is on the first of July 2020. This is the date until which the sale of the cemetery is on hold thanks to a deposit of €10,000 ($10,909) that was made to the seller.
Amrino also states that just like there are many Jewish cemeteries in Western-Europe it will be normal that there will be Islamic cemeteries in the future. Especially as more Western-European Muslims prefer to be buried in the country they live in so that next of kin can visit their gravesite.
There is a variety of Islamic funeral types based on religious secs and countries of origin and similar to religious counterparts the Islamic community wishes to have a space dedicated to their deceased.