Dudley Residents Push Back Against Proposed Muslim Cemetery

Islamophobia is in full swing in Massachusetts.

Residents in Dudley are pushing back against a proposal by the Islamic Society of Greater Worcester that would create the largest Muslim cemetery in the state.

According to the Boston Globe, some residents have voiced their concerns over the project during the town’s public hearings, citing issues with possible well-water contamination as well as an increase in traffic. Muslims traditionally bury bodies without coffins, which is why residents have raised the water contamination issue, but the group behind the cemetery idea has said they’ll do whatever the town wants to make the plan work, including interring bodies in coffins or concrete vaults.

Supporters of the proposal want the project to go through because the closest Muslim graveyard is across the border in Enfield, Connecticut, nearly 60 miles from Worcester.

Amjad Bhatti, president of the Islamic Society of Greater Worcester, told the Globe that around 500 Muslim families live in Worcester County.

“We belong to this state. We belong to America,” Bhatti said. “Of course, it hurts.”

Other supporters of the proposed cemetery claim that an anti-Muslim bias has contributed to the intense backlash against the project, with a lawyer for the group, Jason Talerman, telling the Globe, “Every time I open my mouth, there are boos and hisses in the background.” He also said that residents had raised concerns about “crazy music.” Talerman went on to say, “I think it’s a reflection of the mood of the country in this unfortunate political season. People feel empowered to express these things.”

Considering that Republican presidential frontrunner and noted Islamophobe Donald Trump won Worcester County with nearly 50 percent of the votes on Super Tuesday in Massachusetts, it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that some residents have come out against the plan.

It looks like Islamophobia is in full swing in the Bay State.


Matt Juul Matt Juul, Digital A&E Writer at Boston Magazine mjuul@bostonmagazine.com