Positive response from community after Regina Muslim Cemetery opens up

·2 min read
The process of opening up the Regina Muslim Cemetery took around two and half years.  (Courtesy of Islamic Society of Regina  - image credit)
The process of opening up the Regina Muslim Cemetery took around two and half years. (Courtesy of Islamic Society of Regina - image credit)

A Muslim community in Regina has had a positive response since opening its own cemetery.

"They are extremely happy about this," said Adnan Cheema, one of the organizers who worked on creating it.

Cheema said while there's always some push back like with any project, the majority of the community is supportive of it.

The purpose of the cemetery was to make burials cheaper, reducing the financial strain on those who have lost loved ones.

"If the family is grieving, that's an additional burden on them," said Cheema.

Previously the community would have funerals and bury people at the Regina Riverside Memorial Park cemetery at a cost of approximately $7,000. At the Regina Muslim Cemetery members pay less than $2,000.

The reduced costs come from the Muslim community now having its own facility where members can store loved ones' bodies, eliminating the need for a funeral home. The society also owns the land itself, which makes burials cheaper.

The Islamic Society of Regina fund raised $300,000 to create the cemetery, which is located on 20 acres of land nearly 20 kilometres south of Regina in Richardson. The work took roughly two and a half years.

submitted by the Islamic Society of Regina
submitted by the Islamic Society of Regina

Burial in the community

Abid Khan, whose nephew died unexpectedly from a heart attack last month, said the cemetery is financially very helpful and is serving the community very well.

His nephew's wife came home to find him lying down on the floor. She called the paramedic who tried to revive him, but were unable to do so.

Khan said his nephew's wife was distraught and couldn't process his death. Khan has to take initiative on handling the next steps.

"It's a great relief," he said of the cemetery service.

"People are already grieving on top of the burial costs," he said.

Aas Malik, another member of a committee formed to create the cemetery, said community members have been telling him they'll remember the committee in their prayers.

He also said the cemetery will help low income immigrants.

"One way you lose your family member, and the other way you have a burden of $7,000-$8,000," he said.

The Imam of the Islamic Association of Saskatchewan, Mohamed Abdelsatar, is supportive of its creation as well.

The total Muslim population is rapidly growing in Saskatchewan. Back in 2015 the IAOS estimated that there was close to 10,000 Muslims living in Saskatchewan. Now Abdelsatar estimates that there are around 25,000 to 26,000 living in Saskatchewan with around 15,000 living in Regina.

Abdelsatar said the growth in the Muslim population for their own Muslim community has resulted in a need for the cemetery.

"This was an extremely important project," he said.

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