First Islamic Cemetery to Open in Michigan

June 15, 2006

Source: The Detroit News

On June 15, 2006 The Detroit News reported, "Like many Muslims throughout Metro Detroit, Ron Amen had to search for a proper place to bury his mom when she died. It did not matter that [his mother] Katherine Amen, an activist, was among the most prominent Arab-Americans in the area. There was no cemetery solely for Muslims, and the sections set aside for them in nondenominational cemeteries were substantially full. And while Muslims prefer to bury their loved ones the day after the death, the burial of Katherine Amen's remains was delayed, in part, because of the limited weekend hours at local cemeteries. 'It was difficult, you know, when a family is mourning, to deal with it,' Amen said. 'Islam has its own little burial rites, as do the Jews, as do the Christians. For one thing, Muslims are supposed to be buried in an exclusively Islamic cemetery -- if it is available.' Amen's experience, and that of other Muslims in the area, was enough motivation for the development of the first cemetery in Michigan exclusively for Muslims, the Islamic Memorial Gardens on Ann Arbor Trail. Islamic Memorial Gardens, which began selling graves after six years of negotiations over the land and long state and local regulatory processes, is yet another sign of Islam assuming a place in southeast Michigan."