Santa Comes to the Town of Dudley
Worcester, MA: “The Islamic Society of Greater Worcester (ISGW) is pleased to announce that we have reached a favorable agreement with the Town of Dudley over the establishment of an Muslim Cemetery in Dudley,” says a press release. It adds:
The Muslims of Greater Worcester area rejoice and equally realize that they owe this moment to the people of Dudley, who have embraced us on the eve of the festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, thus showing the true spirit of this season as Jesus says: "Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification" ROMAN 14:19.
"This day of giving is a good day for citizens of all beliefs. Our right to practice our religion and honor loved ones in accordance with our faith has been affirmed. We are also gratified that our agreement with the town of Dudley comes at a time when the World is celebrating Christmas. We are also thankful to the Interfaith communities who came forward and joined hands with us," stated Dr Khalid Sadozai, Trustee ISGW.
"We kindly appreciate the overwhelming support from the Massachusetts Attorney General's office, US Department of Justice's Civil Rights Unit and ACLU cooperating counsel Howard Cooper, of Todd and Weld, on a pro bono basis, " saidDrAmjadBahnassi, Trustee ISGW.
"On behalf of the members of the ISGW I thank the citizens of Dudley and its town officials for their timely gift of neighborly love, " saidAmjad Bhatti, President ISGW.
A report in The Boston Globe ‘Town of Dudley Reaches Settlement over Proposed Muslim Cemetery’ by Mark Arsenault reads:
After months of acrimony and accusations of religious bias, the small town of Dudley has agreed to a deal that is expected to permit a Muslim cemetery on a six-acre plot of land, the Islamic Society of Greater Worcester and town officials announced separately on Friday.
The Islamic Society pursued the new cemetery because the Muslim graveyard it uses in Enfield, Conn., is a long, 60-mile drive from Worcester, but Dudley objected. Town officials have insisted their concerns have always been about the size and impact of the project.
“Today is a good day for citizens of all beliefs,” said Dr Khalid Sadozai, trustee of the Islamic Society, which has been seeking to build a cemetery in Dudley for about a year. “Our right to practice our religion and honor loved ones in accordance with our Islamic faith has been affirmed.
“Area Muslims will now have a dedicated Islamic burial ground in which to bury our dead in Massachusetts,” he said. “And we are also gratified that our agreement with the Town of Dudley comes at a time when the world is celebrating Christmas, a time to love, care, and sacrifice.”
The settlement, approved Thursday evening by the Dudley Board of Selectmen, should result in an initial 6-acre cemetery on 55 acres of former farmland that would provide enough graves for “several generations of families of the Islamic Society of Greater Worcester,” said Jay Talerman, a partner with Mead, Talerman& Costa and a lawyer for the Islamic Society.
Along with some wetlands, the site also contains about another 6 acres that would be suitable for cemetery plots, but under the deal the Islamic Society agrees not to seek to expand the initial cemetery for at least a decade, he said.