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Why Spain's Muslims are seeking more grave sites
by Ana Carbajosa
Over the years, Mohamed Riani has laid hundreds of Muslims to rest at the municipal cemetery in Griñón, in the south of Madrid, following the Islamic tradition of placing the deceased on their right side, their head directed toward Mecca, and wrapped only in a winding sheet, without a coffin.
Griñon is the only Islamic cemetery in the Madrid region, the area with the largest number of Muslims in Spain: 200,000. For more than 70 years the small community's graveyard has also been the chosen burial place of Muslims from all over Spain because it permitted interment without a coffin as required by the Koran, and did so at minimum cost. But since the cemetery came under the control of the local council in October 2014, Islamic burials are now subject to the same conditions as all others: the dead must be placed in caskets, and funerals have fixed prices. Representatives of Spain's Muslim community say this contravenes agreements made between the Spanish state and the country's main religions two decades ago.
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