HELSINKI – Finding a place to bury their dear ones have turned into a dream for Finish Muslims in the Uusimaa region after a six-year search has proved fruitless.
“You would certainly think that we would find an area in Uusimaa that could be rezoned for cemetery use,” deputy chair of the Finnish Islamic Council Pia Jardi told Yle Finnish website on Monday, August 11.
For years, Finland Muslims have been burying their dead in a “Muslim section” in Lutheran church cemeteries.
Since 2008 Muslims living in the capital region have been looking for a suitable location for a cemetery.
Over a six-year period, Muslims submitted enquiries in 16 different cities and towns in the Uusimaa region of southern Finland, even retaining the services of a consultant for their search.
Yet, none of these bids proved successful.
According to Jardi, different explanations were offered to the Council, including claims that some towns don’t have a suitable area of land.
However Jardi said she suspects that the real reason is coolness towards Muslims.
“Perhaps it has to do with a lack of political will. If you even scan web forums they are extremely anti-Muslim. (You see) ‘Finland doesn’t need any mosques’ and ‘When in Rome…’,” Jardi observed.
The Council deputy said that the problem really lies in larger cities which don’t provide this kind of facility.
“I know of cases where the dead have been buried abroad even though the families couldn’t afford it, because there wasn’t a suitable burial ground in their own town. People’s last wish is to have an Islamic burial,” Jardi said.
“That means being put to rest in an Islamic cemetery where one’s neighbors are also Muslims,” she concluded.
There are between 40,000 to 45,000 Muslims among Finland's 5.2 million population.
Islam was introduced to Finland by Baltic Tatars at the end of the 19th century.
The Baltic Tatars arrived in Finland as merchants and soldiers at the end of the 19th century. They were later joined by other family members.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net - Read full article here
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