Muslim Burials in Invercargill
Written by Azeem Haqqani   
Thursday, 12 March 2009 17:22
As mentioned in the AGM last Sunday I had planned a meeting with Robin Pagan, Parks Manager, Invercargill city council today (10 March 09) at 2.30 PM in the Queens Parks Office regarding our need for a separate place in the cemetery .  He had one of his officers with him in the meeting.  Brian Bellett who is continually supporting us for some time on this issue was present too.  Unfortunately no one from those who attended our AGM were
able to take up my offer/ reqest to join me on this occasion.

Alhamdulillah it was a very productive meeting.  I had previously given them an information paper on Muslim Burial Requirements which they had read very carefully and had noted down points for clarification.  I was impressed with the respect they were showing to our requirements and willingness to compromise as much as possible.  The following is an outline of the meeting discussions:

  •  Parks Office/ ICC will look for a suitable area to be allotted exclusively for Muslim burials in the Eastern Cemetery with particular regard to the requirement of the bodies facing Qibla.  I have given them the direction towards Mecca.
  • Due to a high risk of the graves caving in due to poor soil conditions (one grave collapsed recently while the burial was taking place) they will not allow people to enter the grave.  We will have to find a means of lowering the bodies properly from above.  A number of possibilities were discussed and we agreed to research it more.  (Please give me your views about how to handle this situation).
  • They are reluctant to accept bodies without a cask/ coffin but have left the subject open for further discussions later.  One of their officers reported to them that in Dunedin they are using the cask for Muslim burials.  (If any brother has information on what is happening in Dunedin or Christchurch or any other New Zealand city on this matter then please let me know).
  • They are prepared to allow two burials in one grave (one over the other) which I think is allowed Islamically but I need to confirm it further.
  • We agreed to meet again, this time in the Cemetery to physically look at the recommendations that Parks staff will have by that time regarding the possible areas.