Sleaford Town Council has agreed to set aside an area of the town’s cemetery specially for Muslim burials.
Negotiations have been ongoing for some time since being approached by representatives of the Sleaford Muslim Community, based at the prayer hall in Station Road.
At the full council meeting on Wednesday, Mayor Garry Titmus explained: “We have been trying for a long time to provide burial space in the cemetery for the Muslim community.”
An area had been recommended by the Services Committee and the full council has now approved the arrangements. Council staff will receive training in the guidelines for Muslim burials.
Nadim Aziz, from the Sleaford Muslim Community group told the Standard afterwards, as a growing community Sleaford area Muslims were in need of a suitable cemetery nearer than Lincoln and a licence was applied for with the Town Council. In the past they have had to turn to bigger cities such as London, Bradford and Leeds for funerals.
He said: “The Town Council has been very helpful, particularly Coun Titmus, and so a big thank you from our community to all the council.”
Mr Aziz explained, according to their religion, Muslim burials cannot be mixed with those of other faiths in a cemetery as graves have to be lined up to face the kaaba in Mecca - a holy building at the centre of Islam’s most sacred mosque.
He said: “That is why we have a compass in our prayer hall to face the kaaba when praying.
“Everything else about the graves would be similar, including the headstone. However, as soon as we can get permission for burial from the coroner, the body must be buried in the cemetery using a specialist Muslim funeral director who has all the facilities.”