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Mecca-aligned graves set aside for Muslims

August 26, 1997

HOBART, Australia (AP) _ A cemetery in Tasmania has realigned its cemetery plots to permit Muslims to be buried in accord with religious tradition _ their bodies pointed toward Mecca.

Plots at the Kingston Cemetery in southern Hobart were laid out the wrong way for Islamic graves, forcing Muslims to buy two plots each so they could be buried in the traditional manner, said cemetery official Henk Rhee.

He said as a remedy that the cemetery marked off a section with about 20 plots lined toward Mecca, Islam’s holiest site, which is about 9,000 miles northwest of Tasmania.

Australia is a major source of refuge for migrants from more than 150 nations, including Muslims from the Middle East and Asia. Islamic camel drovers helped open up the outback in the 19th century by helping run camel supply caravans to supply the road and railway gangs.

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