In this blog post, I will be reflecting on this article.
Firstly, in true newspaper sensational style, the headline uses the word “fury” and indicates that the burial ground is for those who follow the Muslim faith. It does explain the burial rituals of Sharia Law and that the nearby population of Solihull is made up of a large proportion of Muslims.
Burial space is a problem for those who live in cities, and, for many, cremation is a body disposal method that solves the problem of needing more land for burial. However, there is an increase in the number of people seeking green burial options. Those who can afford to purchase a burial plot look for space, which connects them to the earth and provides family members with the knowledge that they have committed their loved one to a beautiful resting place.
Cremation is not permitted within the Muslim faith, so Islamic families do not have this choice. As the UK has to accommodate the end of life rituals of a multi-faith and secular society, there needs to be an element of compromise when it comes to this important part of everyone’s life.
The villagers of Catherine-de-Barnes claim they are concerned about the increase in traffic to the area. Are they really? Is this really why they are objecting? 63 parking spaces hardly indicates an overcrowding problem. There are more than that at most supermarkets! Are burial grounds places that people visit that often? I spend a lot of time visiting cemeteries, and they are never busy places. A funeral service may bring a lot of mourners, but, after that, the visits to the grave become less frequent as time passes.
Muslim burials involve the ritualistic cleansing of the corpse before the burial of the body, and then the body is wrapped in a shroud and placed in the ground. A small plaque is used to mark the grave instead of a large headstone, so the land near the village will be unspoiled visually. The natural decomposition of the corpses is kind to the environment, unlike a crematorium, which requires fuel to burn bodies. The article claims that concerns have been raised about the fertility of the land. Yet how can there be anything more fertile than reintroducing the human body to the earth?
My observation in reading this article is that modern society is just unwilling to accept that death happens. This is not about traffic; this is about refusing to accept that we will all die.
Many young students choose to study geography and archeology. Investigation into human burial practice provides them with insights into how different communities lived. Burial provides historical clues that allow us to understand how our world has changed over time. Cremation and burial have both been used throughout history, meeting both the practical and spiritual needs of those who live on the Earth.
I ask the people of Catherine-de-Barnes, what is your real objection to this burial ground? Why are you furious? The people who will become your neighbours are dead, and those who visit come with love and will cause you no harm.