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.
“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.
“To have a place to bury their loved ones.”
Burials in Islam is a serene ritual, which involves washing the body and placing it in a cloth before the funeral prayer is spoken.
Traditionally, Muslims are then buried alongside each other.
For now, all six bodies have been returned to their families, said Mohamed Yangui, president of the Centre Culturel Islamique de Quebec.
“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.
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.