Norway: Few cemeteries for Muslims

Norway: Few cemeteries for Muslims

Few of Norway's municipalities have their own cemeteries for Muslims - or have concrete plans to do anything about the problem.

Helge Klingberg of the Culture and Church Affairs ministry told Aftenposten that it's high time that more municipalities set aside space.  It's inexcusable not to do so.

He says that 30 of the country's 430 municipalities have their own cemeteries for Muslims.  This means that Muslims are forced to bury their relatives far away from their hometown.  But there's an exception.  Over 60 Muslims were buried at Skoger cemetery in Drammen. Oslo, Skien, Arendal and Kristiansand also have their own cemeteries for Muslims.

In Drammen the pressure from neighboring municipalities was so great that half a year ago they refused to bury Muslims from other municipalities, with the exception of Lier with which they have an agreement.

Churchwarden Ivar Nygård in Drammen says that Muslims should have access to burial areas close to where they live.

Muslim burial traditions require that the grave be placed in a special way, and that the deceased be buried within a day after death.  In addition, they want they own place for ceremonial washing of the deceased.

The burial law is now be revised to adapt more to minority groups.  Work is currently ongoing and it's unclear how extensive the changes will be.

Researcher Lars Østby of Statistics Norway said today that 0.3-0.6% of those who die in Norway have a Muslim background.

Source: Dagbladet (Norwegian)

See also: Norway: Muslim cemetery only for city residents

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