Controversy Over Islamic Cemetery in an Atlanta Suburb

March 6, 2002

Source: The Chicago Tribune

On March 6, 2002, The Chicago Tribune featured the story "Plan for Islamic cemetery makes waves in Georgia." It reported on the plans to construct a 1,500 plot burial ground that have met with much local opposition. A mosque and educational center had been built in the same area without opposition, but, the article suggested, "that was before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks changed how some Americans view the world and the way they sometimes relate to their Muslim neighbors." The article continued, "The battle ... is a microcosm of the issues facing communities across the country involving growth, culture clashes and the Constitution. The infusion of Islam to the Bible Belt South during the last decade has helped upset a delicate cultural balance and create tensions between longtime residents and new immigrants." Local residents expressed concerns about the health risks of Muslim burial, in which bodies are wrapped in cloth rather than enclosed in caskets. Others expressed their own bias: one of those opposing the project stated, "'You saw what they did to Daniel Pearl ... These are the same people here.'"