Amsterdam: Muslim cemetery on hold

Amsterdam: Muslim cemetery on hold

The construction of a separate Muslim cemetery in De Nieuwe Ooster cemetery is on hold for the time being due to the costs.

In the tender for a washing and prayer area the cheapest contractor was 100,000 euro over the budget, says a spokesperson for the cemetery. Originally the construction was supposed to start last spring.

Three years ago the city of Amsterdam set aside 416,000 euro for a Muslim cemetery. This was preceded by problematic deliberations on it with the Islamic community. The Muslim Welfare Foundation (Stichting Welzijn voor Moslims) left the project because the administration didn't want Sunni and Shiite Muslims to be buried next to each other. A committee led by former mayor Ed van Thijn got those remaining to come to an agreement.

The municipality paid 400,000 for the washing and prayer area. De Nieuwe Ooster itself paid 350,000 to make the ground available for for 1,400 graves.

The cemetery asked last year to make a new tender, hoping that due to the crisis the contractors would give a cheaper deal. The municipality must still decide on the issue.

When the project goes through, the cemetery would serve for at least twenty years, since most of the deceased Turks and Moroccans are buried in their homeland. The cemetery expects at the most 15 Muslim graves per year for the first year, followed by a turnaround, which would require an expansion in the future.

Source: ND (Dutch)

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