Skip to comments.Anger over plan to dig up 350,000 bodies in historic London cemetery for Muslim burial site[UK]
Posted on 10/11/2007 10:58:41 AM PDT by BGHater
A row has erupted over a plan to dig up a third of a million bodies from an historic east London cemetery to make way for a new Muslim burial site.
Tower Hamlets council in London is considering reopening the Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park in Mile End to answer a long-running campaign for a Muslim graveyard in the area.
The park, off Bow Common Lane, was deconsecrated as a Church of England cemetery by Parliament in 1966, after being deemed full with about 350,000 bodies buried there.
It is not yet clear what the Council proposes to do with the remains, if they are ultimately removed from the graves and a new burial site built in their place.
Council sources have said the plans are not yet at a stage where this has been properly considered.
But already opponents to the proposal are lining up. They include the environmentalist and broadcaster, who is leading calls for the park to be kept as a wildlife haven.
The botanist, who is patron of a charity that acts as the guardian of the graveyard, said he will 'pray that the wisdom of all faiths' prevails in the decision over the cemetery's future.
The other options are to find land outside Tower Hamlets or redevelop the Bow Common gas works.
The Labour-controlled council had asked officers to find ways of opening a Muslim-only cemetery - but lawyers warned them that would be illegal.
The authority then examined the possibility of a multi-faith site, clearing existing graves to create a new cemetery with an area set aside for Muslim burials.
But now outraged East Enders have declared "there is no way we'll allow them to dig up our ancestors".
They have bombarded their local paper, the East London Advertiser, with protests against the plan to exhume 350,000 graves dating back to 1841, including those of the children of Dr Barnardo.
Religious leaders and politicians have also reacted angrily.
Tower Hamlets Tory group leader Peter Golds said no new cemetery had been opened in an inner city area for decades.
Cllr Golds insisted: "Of course, there must be respect for the recent dead and for those who mourn, but this proposal will cause untold damage to community cohesion in a borough that seriously wants for tranquil open space."
Labour's Poplar and Canning Town MP Jim Fitzpatrick said: "The cemetery is a very special piece of green space and I would personally want to examine very carefully any proposal to change that."
The Rev Alan Green, chair of the Tower Hamlets Inter-Faith Forum and dean for the borough, said the former Church of England graveyard was not an 'appropriate' place for a new cemetery.
Rev Green said: "The Church supports the move to ensure suitable future provision for the burial and cremation needs for all local residents.
"However, we do not believe that the Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park is an appropriate location due to the emotional, practical and ecological issues of removing thousands of bodies and destroying an important wildlife centre.
"Therefore, we hope that we can work with the council and other faith groups to find a more suitable alternative."
Even Respect group leader Abjol Miah, who has been at the forefront of calls for a Muslim cemetery, opposed the blueprint.
Mr Miah said: "The Bow cemetery is an historic site and a nature reserve and therefore appears not to be an appropriate place.
"However, there is an urgent need for new cemetery facilities for Tower Hamlets residents.
"The lack of such facilities affects everyone, and is pressing because many, including most Muslims, prefer to bury their loved ones."
But defending the plan, Labour's environment spokesman in Tower Hamlets, Abdal Ullah, said: "To preserve the respect and dignity for everyone, I think most of the graves would have to be cleared out and we'd start afresh."
He said a corner of the cemetery would be reserved for Muslims who are buried in shrouds at a depth of 6ft and on their side facing Mecca.
With the fast-changing demographics of Tower Hamlets, the cemetery would be pre-dominantly Muslim.
Re-opening the cemetery would require an Act of Parliament - involving widespread public consultation and scrutiny but by law, any graves more than 75 years old can be removed.
And I’m sure there are plenty of the living who buried their loved ones there. I couldn’t imagine someone I knew and loved being dug up and disposed of.
The rising level of pandering to these moon cult followers is beyond my comprehension.
If people want on or off this list, please let me know.
The respect the are preserving is for their new burials. They would be desecrated to share space with infidels.
If Britian premits this, then I know the end is near.
I think it’s persecution. You’d think they could find an empty lot... I can’t for the life of me figure out why they can’t? No “lots” for sale? Where did they plan to put the “previous bodies”? IMHO, there’s no excuse to even contemplate the subject. It should have never gotten as far as it did...
Thnx for the ping...
What infuriates me is the egocentricity. If the shoe were on the other foot — the Brits or Christians wanted their own cemetery at the expense of the Muslims — the Muslims would be howling & threatening jihad.
“I doubt they would ever do the same for us.”
There is no need to doubt. You can be SURE they would not do the same for us.
A waste of two valuable comodities; better to just grind 'em up, and use 'em for hog slop!
I like it where I am (even in the ice fog when it hits -40 to -50 “Below Zero”)...
Actually - this is brilliant. It wouldn't hurt a thing - and would eliminate months of haggling, demonstrations, lawsuits, etc.
hmmm - maybe, if some grease is left over, spread it around some mosques and neighborhoods and .... could be the ultimate non-letal weapon.
Why wait until they're dead?
Isn't most land in the UK the property of the government - one can only own their home on it?
Therefore, government permission must be granted???
Ouch! That hurt clear over here on the West Coast.
I wonder do Muslims know what happens when you desecrate a Graveyard ? Especially one with a third of a million people it would be interesting to hear what some Psychic's would have to say as far a warnings go
I believe they are just like us. Those were very sad and upset comments. We probably need to empathize with with those people making comments.
We don’t seem to be moving in the right direction either.
Now why is that?