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Islamic Burial Space

Volume 517: debated on Tuesday 2 November 2010

The Petition of the people of Croydon and South London,

Declares that there is a severe shortage of burial space for the Islamic community the Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to take steps to secure such burial space

And the Petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Mr Andrew Pelling, Official Report, 23 February 2010; Vol. 506, c. 270.]

[P000738]

Observations from the Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice:

The Government understand the importance for Muslim communities, as for many others, of having local, affordable, burial space for their use. The Government also recognise that there may be shortages of burial space in some areas, particularly in the larger conurbations.

It is a function of local communities to provide the burial space they need, either through the local council as a burial authority, or by local private, religious or charitable organisations. Such bodies are best placed to determine demand for burial space, and where and how such space may best be provided, having regard to any special requirements for particular religious or other local communities, and competing demands for available land. There are many fine examples of cemetery provision throughout London, either serving particular local communities as a whole or dedicated for use by particular faiths. A number of sites have been developed in recent years, including for use by the Muslim community. The Government have no plans to alter such arrangements.

As far as Croydon and south London are concerned, the Government understand that the London Borough of Croydon is considering the provision of additional burial space for its residents, and in doing so has consulted widely with interested organisations including representatives from the Muslim community. It is for Croydon Council to decide how it wishes to proceed, but it appears that it has the needs of the Muslim community in mind. However, any other organisation may also seek to provide burial space for the community as a whole, or specific sectors within it, subject to planning permission in the usual way.