The burial of Orlando gunman Omar Mateen has sparked anger at a Muslim cemetery in Florida.
Following the release of his body by the Orange County Medical Examiner’s Office, Mateen’s father said he was buried in accordance with Islamic tradition and, according to the death certificate, was interred about three hours from Orlando, NBC News reported.
But families who have loved ones laid to rest at the cemetery are not happy, threatening to start a petition to remove Mateen’s body. One man even considered exhuming his wife and having her moved, according to NBC.
“I don’t see her resting in peace among people like that,” said Andrea Wade, whose wife is buried 30 yards from Mateen. “My going up there to pray with my kids gives me an uncomfortable feeling.”
Some families felt that Mateen, who was shot dead by police after pledging allegiance to ISIS and killing 49 people at an Orlando nightclub, should have been denied a burial plot in the Muslim cemetery based on religious grounds.
“He’s claiming he’s a Muslim but we don’t believe he is a Muslim because our religion doesn’t permit killing,” said Sultan Mamun, whose brother was buried last month. “They should put him somewhere else or cremate him. Everyone is mad about it.”
The director of the cemetery did not return calls for comment, according to NBC and the man identified as the funeral director allegedly hung up on a reporter.
One cemetery official, Bilal Karakira was unaware of Mateen’s burial as he had been out of town, but defended the cemetery’s decision to accept the body. “Everybody deserves a place and we don’t know his side of the story so he is entitled to be buried like anyone else,” he said.
The gunman’s own family has reportedly condemned his actions and has not visited the grave.
— Dianne Gallagher (@DianneG) June 28, 2016
The Muslim Cemetery of Central Florida, closer to Mateen’s home town of Port St. Lucie, said they would not have allowed him to be buried there, though the family never contacted them to do so,
“We want nothing to do with people who behave like that,” the Cemetery’s Jamal Hassounih said. “We don’t condone it and we don’t associate ourselves with people like that, whether they are dead or alive.”
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