ISSA BROTHERS have unveiled plans to build Europe’s biggest Muslim cemetery in their home town of Blackburn, reported MailOnline.
The 84-acre Issa Memorial Garden would be built to the west of Blackburn, Lancashire, and will have 35,000 burial plots – covering a space the size of 40 football pitches.
According to the report, the new site dwarfs the current largest Muslim cemetery, The Garden of Peace, which opened in East London in 2002 and holds 10,000 plots, all of which are now occupied.
The charitable arm of Zuber and Mohsin Issa’s business empire, the Issa Foundation, has put forward the plans in part due to an increase in deaths from Covid.
However, more than 2,800 people have signed a petition objecting to the proposals, citing concerns over congestion and wildlife on greenland where the cemetery would be built. Following this, the Hyndburn Council requested more information on the development.
Earlier, the MailOnline reported that the self-made billionaire brothers, who bought Asda last year, have won planning consent for a £5 million mosque in their home town of Blackburn.
The foundation has now registered an application with Hyndburn Council for the creation of the cemetery, located off Blackburn Road, near Oswaldtwistle.
It will have a provision for 663 car parking spaces spanning the full length of the site’s northern boundary, parallel with Blackburn Road.
This new site is just up the road from the billionaire Issa brothers’ £100m Frontier Park complex, which has a service station, several food outlets, and a ‘Hampton by Hilton’ hotel.
The planning application details that the cemetery will be built on undeveloped agricultural land, lying within the greenbelt.
“The need for Muslim burial plots within the North West of England has become critical, a situation made worse by Covid 19. The proposal is a matter of public interest for the Muslim community and is of strategic importance for the North West area,” the Issa Foundation said in a statement.
It added that an extensive landscaping, both of a strategic and ornamental nature will be required to build the cemetery.
On the site, a main administration single-story building will house the funeral parlour (Ghusal area where the body is washed), prayer pavilions comprising of prayer halls, condolence rooms and ablutions area.
Presently, the main cemeteries in the area are at Pleasington in Blackburn and Burnley Road in Accrington.
The Foundation said that this new development is aimed at Muslim communities across East Lancashire, serving them for the next 50 to 100 years.
According to the proposal, the services it provides will include all the transport arrangements for the deceased.
This will include the pick up of the Janaza (deceased) from the home, hospital or mortuary, transport to the local mosque or Ghusal (washing) facility, where the Ghusal and shrouding will be performed, and then the final transport to the cemetery.
All proceeds from the business will be utilised to provide ongoing funeral services within the Muslim Community and none of the directors or the volunteers will benefit financially from the service it offered, the foundation clarified.
In early November, more than 200 people met to rally against plans for a cemetery. The meeting was attended by a number of councillors.
“We are concerned about a number of things. The roads are already congested enough in the morning and this is going to make that even worse. People use the land for dog walking and there is also wildlife living on the green land which we want to protect,” one resident, who wished not to be named, was quoted as saying by MailOnline.