Request for cemetery at Islamic Center debated at zoning meeting - WSMV Channel 4

Request for cemetery at Islamic Center debated at zoning board meeting

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MURFREESBORO, TN (WSMV) -

Typically, zoning board meetings don't get much of a crowd, but a meeting in Murfreesboro was packed Wednesday night.

At a packed Board of Zoning Appeals meeting, both sides squared off about a possible cemetery at the site of the new Islamic Center of Murfreesboro.

Some were concerned about the traditional Muslim custom where a person is wrapped in garments and buried without a casket.

"If there is not enough soil over them or they are too close to the water table, that ... could create a potential biohazard," said Dan Allen, a Rutherford County resident.

There were also concerns about increased traffic.

"The main concern that the folks over there had was the traffic; it wasn't [the] fact that this was a Muslim institute," said Robert Peay, Rutherford County commissioner.

By the time it was said and done, the board voted to defer the issue, requiring ICM members to conduct a traffic study on the impact of the cemetery and hire a engineer to test the soil to see if the land is suitable for a graveyard.

"We are treated differently, and I'm sorry to say that; this is the 21st century in the United States, and we are still facing discrimination," Saleh Sbnaty said.

Even though no timeframe was set on when the studies will have to be done, a decision will have to be made in about 30 days.

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