Islamic cemetery to be opened after end of Ramadan.
The long-planned opening of the Islamic cemetery in Vienna is to take place after the end of Ramadan, says Omar Al-Rawi, member of the Vienna city council (SPÖ) and in charge of integration matters at the Islamic Religious Association.
The cemetery was to have opened in 2003, but financial problems delayed the project. The OPEC Fund as well as Qatar were the main financial contributors; many small contributors offered money at the last moment, others contributed in kind.
As a result, the inauguration will ceremonious. “We will not open the cemetery quietly”. This memorable event will be celebrated with an elaborate ceremony. The entire Islamic leadership as well as local and foreign representatives, e.g. from Qatar, but also Austrian political representatives are expected to attend. The celebrations should include Muslims as well as non-Muslims.
The lead time for this project was a considerable. It took almost twenty years for the city of Vienna and the Islamic Religious Association to finalize the plans for the cemetery. There were many reasons for the delay: archeology (artefact’s were found on the site), bankruptcy (of one of the construction companies), arson attack (by unknowns).
The city of Vienna provided the site for the cemetery, the Religious Association was in charge of building matters. The plot’s size is 3.4 hectares and provides for 3,000 deceased who will be buried facing Mecca. Although no reservations have been made so far, there have been many inquiries. Many older Muslims still possess insurance in order to repatriate their corpses for burial in Turkey. Al-Rawi is confident this will change once the cemetery is in operation.
The Finnish Islamic Council (SINE) is currently looking for a location in the Uusumaa region for a Muslim cemetery. The aim is to set up a burial ground which could accommodate all deceased Muslims in the area. If necessary, Muslims from other parts of Finland could also be buried there. “The aim is to find a larger area as a long-term solution”, says Pia Jardi, head of the council’s cemetery committee. ”