Residents opposed to the creation of a Muslim cemetery on the outskirts of a conservation village attended a public meeting to voice their objections last night. The villagers claim the burial ground would consume 31 acres of green belt land around Carmunnock, just six miles south of Glasgow city centre, effectively ending its status as a distinct village.
However, some Muslim leaders said they were cynical about the grounds for objection. One said he was concerned local communities suddenly became “tree-huggers” when proposals for Islamic places of worship or cemeteries go before planning authorities. Osama Saeed, Scottish spokesman for the Muslim Association of Britain, said that while he believes a row over a cemetery may be a first, objections are commonplace when new mosques are proposed. He said:
“What I find strange is that we’re hearing an excuse that this is green belt land; broadly speaking, cemeteries do tend to be green. We’ve heard this from across the UK when new mosques have been proposed and suddenly a whole new breed of tree-huggers emerge, but never with cemeteries. The Muslim community in Glasgow has no great attachment to Carmunnock. It is not holy ground. But the problem we have is there are more and more older Muslims, more are dying and we need a burial ground.”