Residents of Farmersville, Texas, are adamantly opposed to a proposed Muslim cemetery 25 miles from the site of the “Draw Mohammad” contest targeted by two Islamic gunmen, CBS DFW reported. Some, the report said, have threatened to dump pig blood and put pig heads on a post so Muslims won’t buy the property.
“We used to grow onions here,” said Farmersville resident Mont Hendrick. “We sure enough don’t want to be growing bodies.”
Residents of the small town of 3,000 have made it clear they do not want the cemetery. Some, CBS said, even questioned how they bury their dead.
“When somebody dies they bury them at that time. They don’t know whether they were shot, diseased or anything else,” said resident Troy Gosnell. “All they do is wrap them in a sheet from the grave and bury them.” Others raised environmental issues.
“They are not placed in any state statute or health code type burial,” resident Jennifer Owen said at a July planning and zoning meeting. “State law requires that they (bodies) are to be put in something and also the maintenance of how cemeteries are to be kept.”
“The bodies are generally above the water we get rain just like we did it’s going to be in our drinking system,” added Patricia Munroe, another critic of the plan. But, the Associated Press said, burial experts have dismissed those concerns.
According to spokesman Khalil Abdur-Rashid, shrouded bodies would be placed in caskets and entombed in underground vaults. He also said plans for the cemetery have more to do with “human dignity” than religion.
Nevertheless, the Associated Press said there is still a great deal of distrust in the town. Speaking at a city council meeting earlier in the month, residents made it clear they do not want a mosque in the area, and some said it would be the first step to a broader Muslim expansion in the area.
“I do not want my child indoctrinated toward their religion,” said Gwen Kakaska. “I do not want to be constantly in view of a mosque.”
“The Islamic faith bases their beliefs on the Koran. I have a copy in English right here and I just want to take a moment in my allotted time and read from it,” said Pastor David Meeks of Bethlehem Baptist Church. “O ye who believe, take not Jews or Christians as friends. They are friends one to another.”
Mayor Joe Helmberger, however, said the townspeople’s worries are unwarranted. He also said the cemetery would be approved as long as development standards are met. Islamic leaders have also denounced the concerns as offensive.
“They are fearful of what they don’t understand and hopefully it’s an opportunity for us to come together and learn a little bit more about each other and hopefully dispel some of those misconceptions,” said Alia Salem, executive director of the Council on American Islamic Relations of Dallas. According to Salem, the association is running out of room and needs more land for burial.
At the time, CBS said the issue did not come up for discussion at the most recent council meeting. The proposed cemetery must be approved by the Planning and Zoning commission before the city council brings it up for a vote.