“Garden of Peace issues” statement to clear burial position

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LONDON: In wake of uncertain situation related to burial amidst Coronavirus, Garden of Peace (in east London) has issued a statement that “a number of our cemetery staff have become ill. We absolutely must control staff infection to continue to provide a burial service to the community. The alternative will be to close the cemetery, which is unacceptable.

A spokesman for the management said; “We are therefore introducing a limit from Saturday 4th April of no more then 5 people to attend each funeral. This rule will be strictly applied, and additional attendees will be turned away by security staff at the cemetery gate. In line with government guidelines please do not attend the cemetery if you should be in self-isolation, for your own good and to reduce the chances of infecting other mourners and our staff.

“Those attending the cemetery for a funeral must strictly follow instructions given by our staff, as failure to do so will mean that the funeral will not be allowed to proceed. We expect those attending the cemetery to stay in their cars until advised otherwise by our staff.

He said; “We already have a backlog of burials and as we all know, the number of deaths is expected to increase. We therefore expect circumstances to be such that we may have to consider the drastic step of not allowing anyone to enter the cemetery for the burial of their loved ones and we may also have to undertake multiple burials in a grave.

 “This will be a very difficult step for us to take and we know it will be extremely difficult on the close family of the deceased to be not present at the cemetery.

 “We hope the community understands that we are taking these steps to protect our remaining cemetery staff from infection and meeting the increased demand for burials. This is a choice between keeping the cemetery open or closing it and not fulfilling our basic duty to bury our fellow Muslims.

Mohamed Omer, board member of Gardens of Peace, said: We welcome the new guidance from PHE and would like to reiterate that it is essential that we maintain social distancing at all times, including at funerals. We should also severely curtail the numbers who attend the funerals so as to ensure that staff working at burial sites and others are protected. If circumstances dictate then we should contemplate, as hard as it may seem, no attendees at funeral time.