Town Orders Muslims to Shut Cemetery, Remove Bodies

Sufi group accuses town board of bigotry
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 29, 2010 2:50 AM CDT
New York state has no regulations concerning burial on private property.   (Shutter Stock)

(Newser) – A Muslim group in a tiny New York town has been told that it has to close down its graveyard and move both of the bodies buried there. Leaders of the outraged Sufi community say the cemetery, on land owned by the group, is perfectly legal and accuse the town's board of acting out of anti-Islamic bigotry stirred up by the row over the Ground Zero mosque, AP reports.

Town supervisor Bob McCarthy says bigotry had nothing to do with the decision. "You have to have permits. They didn't have them," he told AP. "You can't just bury Grandma in the back yard under the picnic table." When confronted with a 2005 letter from the town's code enforcement officer stating that "a cemetery at this location would be an allowed use," however, McCarthy responded: "I'm not a lawyer."

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