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Muslim cemetery shake-up is needed
A CHARITY at the centre of a graveyard row has vowed to set up a new management committee to run Worcester’s private Muslim cemetery.
Worcester Muslim Welfare Association has held an internal investigation and will now change the way it operates in a bid to restore its reputation following the row.
But it has said a £400 invoice handed to the family of Monuhor Ali was not done on its behalf.
Mr Ali’s son Ruhal Hussain, aged 41, refused to pay the money because he disputed that Mr Ditta had worked on the grave.
In a statement yesterday, the association’s chairman Harris Saleem said: “This is a dispute between Mrcillor Ditta and Mr Hussain. When Mr Hussain’s father died, the association was not contacted for any burial service.
“Mr Hussain would have made his own arrangements. This might have been with Mr Ditta or a third party, but we are not aware of any arrangements.
“As a charitable organisation, we did not send an invoice to Mr Hussain or his family, nor instruct anyone else to do so.”
It adds: “After our review and findings, the association will set up a committee to look after the affairs of the Muslim cemetery.
“Previously this has been done on an informal basis.
“In the past when a burial took place, it has been up to family members to either make a voluntary donation or to bear the costs of any materials required in accordance with Islamic tradition.
“The association now appreciates there is now obviously a need for a formal structure to be put in place. This will be done as soon as possible.”
After 74-year-old Mr Ali’s death in June, his family said they arranged the funeral and did the grave preparation, but Mr Ditta maintains the bill is genuine and is for the use of bricks laid inside the grave.
Mr Ditta, a Worcester city councillor and former mayor, said he was acting in his role as a volunteer on an informal cemetery committee, and that it was common for relatives to be asked for cash payments for work done on graves.
Yesterday, he said: “I do a lot of work at the cemetery and I’ll continue doing that.”