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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 24 February 2019

British Muslim loses cemetery court battle

Son of Islamic scholar loses right to place edging around grave

The Royal Courts of Justice in London. AP Photo
The Royal Courts of Justice in London. AP Photo

A British Muslim has lost a High Court battle over his plans to put up a 10 cm marble edging around the grave of his father.

Atta Ul Haq had claimed that his rights to freedom of religion had been breached when officials refused to allow the barrier to stop people walking across the grave of the respected Islamic scholar.

His father, Hafiz Qadri, who lived in Walsall, central England, died in 2015 and was buried in one of the town’s cemeteries.

Mr Ul Haq applied to put the edge in place to prevent visitors and workers from stepping on to the grave but was refused by the operators of the cemetery. Mr Ul Haq put up a temporary barrier but it was removed by officials.

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Leaders of the council said they could not accommodate his wishes without affecting the rights of other Muslims and were concerned they could not properly cut the grass around the graves.

Officials said the rules against barriers did not prevent “mounding” of graves to stop trespassers.

Months of negotiations between the two sides failed to reach a compromise.

Mr Ul Haq took the case to court under laws governing discrimination and human rights.

He claimed that it was his “religious belief that the grave is sacrosanct and stepping on the grave is an offensive, religiously proscribed act that must be prevented”, according to court papers.

Two judges ruled against Mr Ul Haq, according to their decision published on Tuesday. They said that officials had acted in a way that was justified.

Updated: January 22, 2019 05:55 PM

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