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    Muslim Sues Local Council in UK for 'Deeply Offensive' Cemetery Rules

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    For more than three years, a Muslim man from England has been asking a local council to grant him permission to erect an edging around his father's grave to stop people from stepping on it.

    Atta Ul-Haq, a practising Barelvi Muslim, has decided to take Walsall Council to the High Court after its officials kept denying his request to build a four inch marble edging around his father's grave in Streetly Cemetery, West Midlands.

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    He wants to prevent people from walking on the grave, something which he deems "deeply offensive" and prohibited by his religion.

    The Council has been citing violation of cemetery regulations: they only allow the "mounding of graves", which is the method commonly adopted by Muslims to stop people stepping on them.

    Ul-Haq, in turn, said that the cemetery's policy violated his human right to exercise his religion under Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

    Two judges began examining the case at the High Court in London on 4 December, and the hearing is due to end on 5 December.

    Lawyers for Ul-Haq suggested that the dispute could have implications for the Islamic community.

    "Mr Ul-Haq seeks a judicial review of the (council's) 'rules and regulations in respect of cemeteries and crematorium', by which it has and continues to refuse to permit him to erect a raised marble edging around his father's grave. The request is borne out of a fundamental religious belief that the grave is sacrosanct and stepping on the grave is a deeply offensive religiously prohibited act".

    The Council's lawyers, in turn, believe the judges should throw the claim out, and say that the Council's approach has been "careful, sensitive, and accommodating".

    human rights violations, cemetery, breach, graves, human rights, Muslim, United Kingdom
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