Many residents in Farmersville, Texas, are upset about a proposed Muslim cemetery in their rural town. Townsfolk recently packed a city council meeting to voice their opposition (video below).
The Islamic Association of Collin County filed a development request to build the cemetery, an open-air gazebo, bathrooms and a small shopping area (to support the cemetery's costs) on 35 acres.
“The concern for us is the radical element of Islam,” David J. Meeks, pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, told The Dallas Morning News.
“They will expand. How can we stop a mosque or madrassa training center from going in there?” Meeks added.
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Khalil Abdur-Rashid, a spokesman for the Islamic Association of Collin County, countered, “We didn’t think there would be this much concern about burying the dead.”
He said that Muslims are not allowed to pray or conduct services at a cemetery, but that Muslims do not embalm bodies, they wash them at a funeral home in warm water.
Texas law doesn't require the embalming of bodies.
Abdur-Rashid added that the bodies are wrapped in shrouds, put in caskets and entombed in underground vaults.
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CBS Dallas-Fort Worth reports that some residents are threatening to put pigs blood and heads on the property to discourage the Muslims from building the cemetery.
Farmersville has a population of less than fewer than 4,000 people, but there are an estimated 22,000 Muslims in Collin County.
The town already has a Buddhist meditation center and a Mormon church.