A group of Regina volunteers is raising money to build a new cemetery for the local Muslim community.
“If somebody passes away, you’re looking at about $6,000 to $7,000 for just a standard, basic funeral or burial,” said Adnan Cheema, director of the Regina Muslim Cemetery Project.
“There are many times when the family cannot afford it.”
The group of volunteers are all members of a committee with the Islamic Society of Regina, which is fundraising in order to provide cheaper burials for the Muslim community.
“The Muslim community in Regina has grown quite a bit over the last 10 years,” Cheema said. “Now, financially speaking, it makes sense to have our own private cemetery.”
Currently, the community uses the Riverside Memorial Park Cemetery, which is run by the City of Regina.
But Cheema says a non-profit private cemetery run by volunteers would cut burial costs significantly, lowering them to just $1,000, which would go towards covering the cemetery’s operational and maintenance costs.
“We’re doing this for goodwill,” Cheema said. “We’re not making any profit from it.”
The group is looking to purchase at least 10 acres of land, enough room for 10,000 graves. This would be enough to serve the community for up to 50 years.
So far, the group has already raised around $42,000 of the $300,000 required to make the project a reality. Part of that fundraising comes from a GoFundMe page, and the project has received support from other Islamic organizations across the province.
While there isn’t a specific location picked out just yet, the group is hoping for a space outside the city limits.
“We did have a location west of the city, close to the airport, but we haven’t had an agreement with the owner,” said Abdalla Muftha, president of the Regina Muslim Cemetery Project.
The cemetery will serve not only Regina but surrounding areas as well, helping to alleviate a financial burden for families during an already difficult time.