THE MUSLIM community of Madrid has turned to the ombudsman in a bid to be granted cemeteries where they can bury their dead. The so-called Platform for a Dignified Burial has presented 500 signatures in the hope that the process of adapting a cemetery in the Carabanchel district can be speeded up. 

The group has taken the step, according to Spanish daily El Pais, over the sense of inaction among the community on the part of the public administrations as well as the Spanish Islamic Commission, which represents Muslims in the country. 

Sara Elasri Soto, a member of the platform, told the newspaper that the ombudsman is “a body that represents citizens, and that is what we are, meaning that we have the right to use this route and to have a place where we can be buried with dignity.”

The Carabanchel cemetery is currently the only one that is appropriate for Muslim burials in Madrid but as a result there are no spaces left. 

Muslims are not usually buried alongside non-Muslims, meaning that a separate area of a cemetery is required. 

In July 2022 the City Council approved a proposal from the Socialists to assign more plots for a Muslim burial ground, but nearly a year later nothing has happened. 

“The administrative authority lies with the council and the Municipal Funeral Service company, and we are not seeing any advances,” Elasri complained to El Pais. “The situation is completely stalled.”

Islamic burial customs usually involve the burial of the body as soon as possible, after it is bathed and shrouded. The deceased is positioned so that their head is facing Mecca.

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