NEWSDESK

PALMA
PALMA Council has announced the allocation of a space in the city's Son Valenti cemetery for Muslim burials.
However, despite the fact that the Balearic Islamic Platform called off a demonstration scheduled for yesterday morning to protest at the lack of burial facilities for Muslims in the city, a number of protestors still turned up outside the town hall.

Noreddine Belmeddah, the President of the European Federation for Algerian Associations and a member of the Balearic Islamic Platform, said yesterday: “The problem was that it was being held up in the planning department but yesterday it was resolved, we saw the plot, it seemed adequate and now we have to get on with cutting more red tape.” The new plot is 180 metres with room for 30 graves.
Belmeddah stated that the Islamic community in the Balearics had first made the request for a burial plot 10 years ago.
He said that the demonstration had been called to urge the council to accelerate the creation of the first Muslim cemetery in the Balearics. “The authorities had at last shown an interest in the subject but things were going very slow with errors being made and it is a serious problem because currently if somebody dies we don't have anywhere to bury them,” added Belmeddah.

It was late on Thursday that Begoña Sanchez informed the Balearic Islamic Platform that a space had been found in the Son Valenti cemetery for Muslim burials, too late for the news that the demonstration had been called off to reach everybody.

While members of the platform arrived at the council to hand in a letter of thanks to the Mayor Aina Calvo for having dealt with their request, a number of demonstrators carried out their protest.

Sanchez has now urged the other municipalities in Majorca to follow in the footsteps of the council in Palma and find space in their own cemeteries, given that Palma with its rapid demographic growth will “not be able to absorb the deceased from other localities”.

There are 30'000 Muslims living in the Balearics, according to Belmeddah. The demand for their own cemetery has been made principally by Majorcans and other Spanish Muslims living in the Balearics, he added. He said non-Spanish immigrants tended to be repatriated after their deaths.

However, he said that the new Islamic cemetery would also serve for those who were not able to repatriate their relatives' bodies owing to the high cost, which in the case of Algeria can be as high as 5'000 euros.

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