Muslims in Italy are facing a shortage of burial grounds in the epidemic

Imams and Muslim community leaders have called for additional Islamic graves or additional space in the existing cemetery in Italy.

As the coronavirus pandemic hit the Mediterranean, the Muslim community in Italy died much like others.

Reducing pain for religious minorities is the serious truth of the lack of space to bury their dead.

Imams and Muslim community leaders want more Islamic cemeteries, or extra space in the country's current cemetery because the faithful want to be buried in their home in Italy.

Imam Abdullah of Milan Sesto said: "We have experienced pain (infections), but it is sometimes severe when some families cannot find a place to bury the dead because there is no Muslim section in the city cemeteries." The mosque says AFP news agency.

In Italy, 34,000 people were infected, mostly in the industrial north, and the global flight was nearly halted for months.

As a result, many of the Muslims who died during the Italian outbreak may be asked to be buried in their home countries, and not brought back.

This has led to an increase in requests for burial and the lack of space for Italy.

The number of Muslims in Italy is 2.6 million, or 4.3 percent.

There are no official statistics available on the number of Muslims of Italian or foreign nationals who died during the outbreak.

A pebble rectangle
At the Brizano cemetery on the outskirts of Milan, Mustafa Moulay marvels at the simple, bare tomb of a Muslim section of a heavily Roman Catholic cemetery.

"It's God's will," he said of the death of his 55-year-old wife on April 7, COVID-19.

She was infected with a virus at a Milan hospital, where she was admitted for a minor leg operation a month ago, said Mole, who was born in Morocco and lived in Italy for 32 years.

The tomb has no tombstone and is marked only by a rectangle of pebbles. Fresh graves are desolate.

The tombs of people who have died of pre-coronavirus have cement borders and are sometimes carved in a semi-circular marble slab.

Many Italian Muslims had to travel long distances to bury their dead, or even leave the dead body in the morgue for days or sleeping at home. He asked

'Honorable Burial'
According to Islamic tradition, the dead should be buried as soon as possible, preferably within 24 hours, but this is not always possible.

One of the most serious cases was the Macedonian woman Hira Ibrahim in Pisagne, whose mother died of coronavirus.

According to the La Repubblica newspaper, Ibrahim was forced to keep his mother's body at home for 10 days in the absence of a Muslim cemetery in his community.

The newspaper said that countless Muslim families faced similar situations during the crisis.

The imam said the problem persisted even after the biggest waves of death subsided.

The body of a Muslim who died in Milan last week was transported about 50km (30 miles) away for burial, he said.

China thanked mayors "who opened their (Catholic) cemeteries during this crisis to ensure a dignified burial" for the Muslim dead.

The president of Milan's Islamic Centre, Gueddouda Boubakeur, said some families in Brescia and Bergamo - two of the areas hit hardest by the coronavirus - had to wait "a very long time".

Thanks to the combined efforts of municipalities and central government authorities, solutions were ultimately found most of the time, he said.

"We didn't consider the distance. We went to the first town that accepted the bodies. Our concern was above all to find space," Boubakeur said.

Some cemetery

The Islamic Community of the Union of Italy lists just 76 Islamic cemeteries in the country, comprising about 8,000 municipalities.

The oldest was built in 1856, in the northeastern city of Trieste, Rome dating back to 1974.

Under Italian law, cemeteries can offer "non-Catholics" special and specialized classes, but they are not required to do so.

Boubecour accepted government cooperation but asked for more "political will" to create additional Muslim cemeteries.

“After this pandemic, 150 municipalities have responded positively to our requests to provide a Muslim class in their cemetery,” said Boubecour - a fraction of the approximately 8,000 municipalities.

The need for Muslim burial plots makes migrants and their descendants willing to intervene in Italy.

"We used a kitty to pay to send our country, but not now," Babekur said.

"Some elderly people still want to be buried in their own country. But many have children, grandchildren in Italy and now prefer to be buried."

Young Muslims "want to be buried in Italy because they are Italian," said Boubeccoor.

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