Corpses being stacked as Male’ cemetery reaches capacity

The cemetery (Aa-sahara) in Male’ has reached capacity and Male’ municipality council has begun burying dead bodies on top of one another, by adding six feet of soil to the burial ground.

Islamic burial practices state that bodies must be buried six feet under the earth, and must not be stacked above other bodies – a logistical challenge for densely-populated Male’, where space is at a premium.

Head of Municipality Council Adam ‘Sarangu’ Manik said the council had no other choice because there was no other land in the city to bury dead bodies.

”We have to do it like this because every day one or two people need be buried there,” Adam explained.

”The soil was put on top of the graves and prepared by the former government,” he said. ”We have no other place to bury dead bodies, so we continued burying them there.”

State Islamic Minister Sheikh Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed reiterated that under Islam it was prohibited to bury dead bodies in this manner.

”It is allowed only if there is no other way,” Sheikh Shaheem said, noting ”it is not a must to only bury dead people in Male’ – there is space in Hulhumale and Villingili. We should take the dead bodies in a speed boat to Hulhumale’, Villingili or another nearby island,” he said.