Planned graveyard desecrated

An uncertain future looms for a Muslim cemetery which has been dogged by vandalism

The first Muslim cemetery in Denmark has already been struck by several incidents of vandalism - before it has even been opened.

The cemetery plot in Brøndby, southwest of Copenhagen, has had swastikas painted on it. Similar vandalism has also taken place at the Islamic religious community centre in Copenhagen.

The planned cemetery has already had its first test grave dug and the Islamic Burial Foundation is searching for a gardener to care for the property.

'This is a very, very bad start,' said Kasem Ahmad, chairman of the foundation, to daily newspaper Politiken. 'I am losing faith that this project will ever be realised.'

Ahmed said a car has also been seen on several occasions driving recklessly across the field and that rumours have been circulating that it is being used to race on.

The vandalism has cast an uncertain future over the cemetery, according to Ahmet Deniz, deputy chairman of the foundation. He said the cemetery would not be put into use until the foundation could be certain that the vandalism would be stopped.

'It must be very intolerant people who can't accommodate anyone other than themselves. They aren't thinking about the fact that they are ruining their own land and the opportunity to live in a country with different types of people,' said Deniz.

The Islamic Burial Foundation has only contacted the police on one occasion. Members of the foundation are now trying to find the funds to hire a security crew to monitor the location.

Bertel Haarder, minister of Ecclesiastical Affairs approved the request to establish the cemetery in April 2006.

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