Finland: Looking for land to set up cemetery near Helsinki

The Finnish Islamic Council (SINE) is currently looking for a location in the Uusumaa region for a Muslim cemetery.

The aim is to set up a burial ground which could accommodate all deceased Muslims in the area. If necessary, Muslims from other parts of Finland could also be buried there.

"The aim is to find a larger area as a long-term solution", says Pia Jardi, head of the council's cemetery committee.

Currently the burial of Muslims has been organised in different ways in the various municipalities in Uusimaa. Some Lutheran parishes have reserved rows of graves for Muslims in their community.

The best situation is in Helsinki, where the Helsinki Lutheran parishes granted a full block of the burial ground for Muslim graves a year ago in the summer. Now 18 people have been buried in the area with a capacity for 202 graves, each of which will accommodate two coffins.

"Burial legislation requires that we indicate a grave plot for Helsinki residents", says Risto Lehto of the Helsinki Lutheran parishes.

There is a separate Islamic cemetery in Hietaniemi, which is reserved for the Tatar community.

Many Muslims in Finland want a cemetery of their own, which would make it easier to plan graves according to Muslim specifications, and to bury bodies as soon as possible after death, as required by Islam.

The Islamic Council has sent enquiries about a cemetery to 16 municipalities and cities.

In addition to Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa and Kauniainen, a number of local authorities in Uusimaa and East Uusimaa are included, as well as the city of Hämeenlinna.

The primary aim is to find a parcel of land that has already been approved for use as a cemetery, which would considerably speed up the process. Another option is to get planning permission in an area not zoned for cemetery use.

Tuusula has said that it has no space available for such a graveyard. Helsinki also suspects that it might not be able to find enough appropriate land within the city limits. SINE is waiting for other responses from other local authorities.

Pia Jardi notes that Finland's Muslim population is younger than the Finnish population at large. "Ten years from now the situation will be more acute", she estimates.

Source: Helsingin Sanomat (English)


Anonymous said...

Nobody should accomodate separatism. Ever. If they don't want to be buried with the Finns, they shouldn't move to Finland and die there. Period. If they think the Finns aren't good enough to be buried next to they shouldn't move to their country, and the Finns certainly shouldn't enable that kind of thinking, let alone put it into action. Furthermore, aren't ecemteries private property except for wards of the state and Jane/John Does? They are in the States, and I know that plots at Pere Lachaise run a quite pretty penny. If they want a separatist graveyard, they can buy the land and have one, just like if they want to segregate gyms they can buy them and pay to be separatist. The free world should not enable that at all, and certainly not a the expense of people who work and pay taxes for the benefit of people who live (and breed!) beyond their means and then parasitize the welfare state.

Esther said...

Hi jdamn13,

I'm not sure about the situation in Finland, but Europe is not the US, and separation of church and state, even where it's official, is not what you might think.

In other words, I don't think cemeteries are private property, and I doubt the state allows anybody to be buried wherever they want to.

Anonymous said...

Seriously? Is it like the school system then, with private schools for everyone and people don't get to pick which one they go to, and then there are private ones that people are free to choose from because they pay to attend? Because like I said, we have public graveyards, but with the exception of those specifically for fallen soldiers and molitary personnel, they're really for people who have no family and may as well have an unmarked grave. They get buried in unfinished pine boxes and get a wooden croos as a grave marker. I was also under the impression that Finland was considerably more secular than much of the rest of Europe, especially since I read in here that circumcision was illegal.

Esther said...

Hi jdamn13,

I don't see the relation between being religious and allowing circumcision. Finland is a Christian country and circumcision is not Christian.

Nassar said...

I am muslim,I like finns but I want to be burried in Islamic cemetry because it is one part of the religion. this doesnot mean I dont like finns. I can give u example ,In indonesia,malaysia,pakistan which is predominantly muslim, christians are buried according to their religion in their own cemetry. it does not mean they dont like eachother. I dont know what freedom exists in Europe if u are unable to do respect minority rights