A showdown in Texas is brewing over a proposed Muslim cemetery.
Located just 25 miles from where two Muslim extremists were killed while trying to attack a “Draw Muhammad” free speech event, residents in a Texas community want no part of the project.
And some are threatening to place pigs’ heads on posts and spill pigs’ blood on the property to keep an Islamic group from buying the land, CBS Dallas-Forth Worth reported.
Plans for the cemetery are prompting concerns about whether Muslim burial practices will impact the town’s drinking water, and about the long-term plans of the Islamic Association of Collin County, a coalition of five Islamic centers in the county.
Muslims do not embalm their dead, washing bodies in warm water instead, The Dallas Morning News reported — embalming is not required by state law.
The association is looking to build the only Muslim cemetery in the county and selected a site in Farmersville, a couple dozen miles from Garland, which was the scene of the deadly attack in May.
But residents turned out in force at a City Council meeting earlier this month to oppose their efforts.
“The concern for us is the radical element of Islam,” Pastor David J. Meeks told the Morning News. “They will expand. How can we stop a mosque or madrassa training center from going in there?”
But the town’s mayor understands that’s a First Amendment issue.
Mayor Joe Helmberger said the residents’ concerns were unwarranted and, noting that the U.S. was founded on religious freedom, said the Islamic cemetery is likely to be approved as long as the town’s development standards are met, according to The Associated Press.
Khalil Abdur-Rashid, a spokesman for the Islamic association, saw the concerns as an opportunity for greater understanding about his religion.
“This is an opportunity to have a good interfaith dialogue and inter-community dialogue,” he said.
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