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Thursday 18 July 2019

Muslim shroud burials allowed in new rules

Paul Melia

Paul Melia

MUSLIMS will be allowed to bury their dead in the traditional way from next month without the need to seek special permission.

New regulations will facilitate un-coffined burials for Muslims and members of other faiths, unless they're likely to pose a health and safety risk.

Members of the Islamic faith typically bury their dead as soon as possible, with the deceased wrapped in shrouds, a spokesman for the Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland said.

Dr Ali Selim said there were three Muslim cemeteries across the country – in Gorey, Co Wexford; in Limerick; and at Newcastle in Dublin.

"If somebody passes away, we bring them to our mortuary and we shroud the body according to the Islamic way, and take it to the mosque where we offer prayer," he said.

Anxiety

"We do not bury in the coffin, but in the shroud. We lay the body in the grave facing Mecca, and then put pieces of wood on the body from the edge to the bottom so when we put dust into the grave it doesn't touch the body.

"In Ireland, there is a high level of religious understanding. Death is a time of anxiety, and it is very hard to oppose something that is really wanted by the family of the deceased. This (new regulations) complements the practice already in place."

The Burial Ground (Amendment) Regulations 2013 come into operation from June 1.

The updated rules will allow un-coffined burials to take place in an area of a cemetery designated exclusively for this purpose.

However, the provision can be over-ruled if there is a health or environmental risk. There will be no obligation to designate an area for un-coffined burials.

The change follows concerns expressed by members of the Muslim community regarding their traditional burial rituals.

The regulations were drafted in consultation with the Environmental Protection Agency, HSE and the City and County Managers' Association.

Irish Independent

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