“It was the standard to be buried in the country of origin,” says Aisha Pijnenburg of Islamic Funeral Services Amanah. “In the beginning there was panic in the community, but afterwards you notice that they also like to have a grave in the Netherlands. The reason is negative, but it turns out positive.”
Islamic funerals are an important event with traditions for many Muslims. Now that the travel ban has been introduced, Muslims are looking for alternatives close to home.
An advantage is, for example, that a large part of the family can now attend the funeral, and can also visit the grave later. “The whole family could not attend funerals in the country of origin. Normally only about ten family members went along, the rest were left behind. Due to the corona measures, 30 people may now be present, but at least they can be there anyway “says Pijnenburg.
Because there are more Islamic cemeteries in the Netherlands, it is also possible to bury according to guidelines that many Muslims want to observe. For example, the deceased can be buried without a coffin, the funeral can be held soon after death, and the grave can be left indefinitely. Perpetual burial is an important requirement for many Muslims.
During the corona crisis, municipalities try to support the Muslim community in this. For example, Rotterdam offers a discount on the price for a grave with an eternal grave rest. That means a temporary discount of 25 percent on the grave costs of almost 7000 euros.
There is uncertainty in the Muslim community at which cemetery you can trust to have eternal burial peace. An Islamic cemetery has recently been opened in Zuidlaren, which ensures that eternal burial peace is observed.
For years, money was collected for the cemetery, but after collecting the necessary 250,000 euros in a day, people have been buried almost daily since the end of April.
Pijnenburg expects the trend to continue largely after the corona crisis. “I hear from relatives that now that their parents are here, they also want to be buried here. A large group will of course also want to return to the country of origin, because that connection with the country remains.”