Family barred from burying their dead stepfather on a Saturday … because he isn’t a Muslim

Thus the headline to an piece in today’s Daily Mail. Yes, it’s yet another “Muslims are being given preferential treatment” story. And, unsurprisingly, it has been taken up in a news article posted on the BNP’s website.

The Daily Mail article in fact reveals the spurious basis of its own scaremongering headline:

“Sheffield City Council offers the ‘extended service’ to Jews and Muslims because their faith and traditions require the dead to be buried as soon as possible. But as Jews cannot bury their dead on the Sabbath – from sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday – it means that effectively only Muslims can use the service. Other local authorities are also understood to offer weekend burials only to Jews and Muslims.”

The story is adapted from an original article in the Sheffield Star, which contains the following passage:

“Abdool Gooljar, president of the Sheffield branch of the Society of Islam, said the council should try to meet the needs of every resident of the city. ‘The last thing we want to do is cause more upset at the time of bereavement, and I would urge a re-think so everybody has the right to bury their dead when they want,’ he said. ‘I, firstly as a Muslim and secondly as a citizen, do not want preferential treatment. We are living in a multi-faith, multi-cultural society and we should endeavour to meet the needs of every citizen in this city’.”

The Daily Mail version leaves out the final sentence with its reference to a multi-faith, multicultural society, while the BNP article removes the quotation from Abdool Gooljar in its entirety.