The apalling fire at Grenfell Tower in north London is an horrific tragedy affecting thousands of people as a result of the huge loss of llife.
Would Southwark Council be able to provide burial for all victims if a terrible disaster the scale of Grenfell Tower were to happen in the south London Borough?
We say ‘No’.
Southwark Council‘s burial service discriminates against most Muslim residents. And religious leaders, including Southwark’s own Multifaith Forum, have said as much.
Southwark provides hundreds of Christian and non-faith-based burial plots across its three cemeteries every year.
Southwark claims that they are providing burial for everyone in the borough who needs it, especially those for whom burial is the only option.
But Southwark’s 30,000 Muslim residents who experience around 270 deaths are allocated fewer than 10 burial spaces a year. These are mostly used by Turkish Muslim residents.
Most Southwark Muslims have to go outside the Borough for burial in private cemeteries, as Southwark has decided not to provide for their needs.
We believe this may be because Southwark would have to provide burial outside the borough and this would cost them more money than digging up their own cemeteries.
Councils are not allowed to discriminate against residents in order to save money.
We have been highlighting the religious discrimination of Southwark’s burial service for years.
How many Councils provide burial suitable for most Christians, while denying thousands of other residents burial because of their religion?
Southwark Council is not only doing nothing about it - but actively denying there is any problem. They are even ignoring faith leaders saying the same thing.
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Below: New burials in Camberwell Old Cemetery created over mounded graves which are not unsuitable for most Muslim residents.
Bottom: Gardens of Peace in Hainault where many of Southwark's Muslims have to go for burial.