Residents concerned about cemetery proposal - WNEM TV 5

Residents concerned about cemetery proposal

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)

A community is debating a proposed Muslim cemetery in Mid-Michigan.

Opponents said the problem is not who will be buried there, but how.

After a Tyrone Township board meeting last week, several residents raised concerns over a proposal for the removal of 10 acres of wetlands in order to create a burial site.

The property is owned by Hassan Siddiqui, a Muslim business owner. He is looking to keep his friends and loved ones together after death.

However, the practices by which Muslim burials take place - with a shroud instead of a coffin - has those living nearby worried about contamination.

"So the area that this is proposed for is 100 percent on private water wells. They also happen to be on a private septic system," said Mark Meisel, chairman of the planning commission.

He said a large number of residents went to the meeting worried their safety might be at risk should the development go through.

"The issue is purely a cemetery and concerns about groundwater contamination. That's what the majority of residents were concerned about," Meisel said.

He said Siddiqui has already gone through his preliminary application, as well as his public hearing. The final step is to make sure it's approved by the Tyrone Township board.

"They will then hold a meeting, review that application and they will render a decision. The time frame for that is probably two or three months," Meisel said.

As for the residents, they said the issue is not that of a racial divide, but merely a safety concern.

"It has nothing to do with whether he's a Muslim. He could be a Christian. None of us want it over there. It's a cemetery that could contaminate our groundwater," said Carol Roeder, resident.

TV5 attempted to reach Siddiqui for comment, but have not heard back.

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