Dancing on graves? Plans to use Kuwaiti cemeteries as parks sparks protests
Sulaibikhat cemetery. (Sala6a.com)
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Protests have broken out in Kuwait following the city's decision to convert old cemeteries into parks, according to Arabian Business. The Kuwait City Council was planning to convert about 50 cemeteries into public parks before the project was halted due to protests.
"There is a rule that after 50 years of disuse, a cemetery goes out of service and can be changed into a park. An example is the Baladiya Park, which was originally a graveyard. Later, a fatwa was issued forbidding this change, and ideas were proposed to build multi-story car parks on cemetery grounds. Many conflicts ensued, so the municipality preferred not to execute these projects and avoid problems. So we only planted flowers on top of the gravesites," Muhalhal Al Khaled, director of the Municipal Council, told the Kuwait Times.
“One cemetery is in Jahra, three in Sulaibikhat for Sunnis, Shiites and non-Muslims, and one in Subhan. All other cemeteries are abandoned and not used anymore."
Khaled added that a cemetery in Sulaibikhat would be expanded and the mosque at the site would be relocated to a residential area in Nahda. “The new expansion of the Sulaibikhat cemetery will include the non-Muslim cemetery,” he stated.
In addition to converting cemeteries into parks, the Kuwait City Municipal Council plans to build new housing units and relocate the city zoo to Mutlaa, reported Arabian Business.
“It will be much bigger there. I don’t think that the distance will stop people from visiting it, as today the roads are modern and a long drive is part of a picnic far away from the city. Also, Mutlaa will be a residential city and to have the zoo there is better than in a crowded area,” said Khaled.
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