William Eichler 23 January 2019

Council’s decision not to allow a barrier around Muslim grave ‘fair’, court rules

The High Court has ruled that Walsall Council’s decision not to allow a Muslim man to install a marble edge around his father’s grave was ‘appropriate and fair’.

Atta Ul-Haq, a Barelvi Muslim, argued that the barrier was required to stop people walking over the grave, an action that goes against his religion.

Mr Ul-Haq claimed that the council’s decision not to allow the raised edge breached his right to exercise his religion, as is enshrined in Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The council responded that it allowed for ‘mounding’, which is the method used by most Muslims to stop people walking on graves, and that it could not fulfil Mr Ul-Haq’s wishes without impacting on the rights of other Muslims.

The court ruled that the council’s regulations ‘do not discriminate against any individual or community and are appropriate and fair.’ 

‘In its judgement the court stated that the council has carried out consultation with the local community, and made adjustments to its policies which are fair and lawful,’ a council statement said.

‘The court also stated that the council as the Burial Authority is best placed at a local level to make rules and regulations which are appropriate.’

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