DEARBORN, MI – The American Moslem Society mosque and Woodmere Cemetery of Detroit are at odds over 622 prepaid grave sites. Members of the mosque want answers from management of the cemetery. A lawsuit has been filed in this matter.
What do you call a cemetery that won’t permit burials of Muslim folks in Dearborn at a time of global pandemic? The American Moslem Society mosque, among others in the community, would like to know.
For decades, the mosque and Woodmere Cemetery of Detroit have been good neighbors along Riverside Drive. More than that, they have been business partners of a sort. With its large membership, the mosque has purchased thousands of grave spaces in bulk from the cemetery and passed them on at cost to its members and their families. But now, during a time of great suffering and need in the community, the cemetery will not allow any burials from the mosque even though it has paid in advance for 622 grave spaces at a cost of $388,750.00.
The cemetery claims that its contract with the mosque requires the mosque to pay in advance for 1000 graves before using even one of them. However, this claim is purely invented, as the contract has no such clause. Meanwhile, the cemetery, exposing its true motivation for barring the community, has proposed a solution: Rip up the 2017 contract and make a new one in which the cost of graves and related burial services and products is roughly doubled. The cemetery has made an obvious but cynical calculation that the close knit AMS community will pay double to have its family members buried near the mosque and near the thousands of other community members who already rest at Woodmere Cemetery.
The mosque has filed suit in Wayne County Circuit Court for breach of contract against the cemetery. The complaint also sheds light on the shoddy treatment given to existing burials in the AMS sections of the cemetery. In these sections, the cemetery’s careless maintenance and landscaping practices have caused damage to existing burial vaults and permitted persistent wet and muddy conditions around the graves. These conditions, which do not appear to exist in any other area of the cemetery, are unsettling to family members and make the visitation of graves unpleasant and, at times, impossible.
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