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Not enough Muslim cemeteries in Quebec, community struggles to bury dead: immigration specialist

Click to play video: 'Not Muslim cemeteries in Quebec' Not Muslim cemeteries in Quebec
WATCH ABOVE: The Quebec Muslim Burial Association plans to meet with Quebec City mayor Régis Labeaume to talk about the need for more spaces to be used as religious burial grounds. Global's Matt Grillo reports – Feb 2, 2017

There aren’t enough Muslim cemeteries in Quebec, argued an immigration specialist as the community gets ready to put the six victims of the Quebec City mosque shooting to rest.

There are several locations scattered across Greater Montreal, but there are none in Quebec City or across the rest of the province.

READ MORE: Canadian CEO offers to cover funeral costs for Quebec City mosque shooting victims

“Since 2008, the community in Quebec, the Muslim community, was trying to have access to some land,” said Chedly Belkhodja, a Concordia University professor who specializes in immigration.

READ MORE: Quebec City mosque left with blood stains, bullet holes after deadly shooting

Burials in Islam is a serene ritual, which involves washing the body and placing it in a cloth before the funeral prayer is spoken.

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Traditionally, Muslims are then buried alongside each other.

An overall view of the funeral for Abdelkrim Hassane, Khaled Belkacemi and Aboubaker Thabti, three of the six victims of the Quebec City mosque shooting, at the Maurice Richard Arena in Montreal, Thursday, February 2, 2017.
An overall view of the funeral for Abdelkrim Hassane, Khaled Belkacemi and Aboubaker Thabti, three of the six victims of the Quebec City mosque shooting, at the Maurice Richard Arena in Montreal, Thursday, February 2, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Five of the bodies of the victims of the attack in Quebec City will be repatriated to their home countries.

For now, all six bodies have been returned to their families, said Mohamed Yangui, president of the Centre Culturel Islamique de Quebec.

READ MORE: Thousands attend Montreal funeral for 3 of Quebec City mosque shooting victims

“For some families, it’s very costly and it also breaks the family,” Belkhodja told Global News.

Belkhodja said the problem is one that has been debated for years.

READ MORE: Quebec ignored Muslim fears for safety: community members

Quebec Muslim Burial Association founder, Hadjirah Belkacem, is hoping for change within the province.

She plans to meet with Quebec City mayor Régis Labeaume to talk about increasing the number of Muslim burial sites.

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