Gwinnett County commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to deny development of a Bosnian Muslim cemetery, following the wishes of neighbors who said the burials would deflate property values and increase traffic.
AJC In addition to the traditional concerns about development, though, was an undercurrent of
‘Islamophobia’ anti-Muslim sentiment. Most members of the Bosnian community in Gwinnett are Muslim, though people of any religion could have been buried in the cemetery. (Why would they?)
Local residents lobbied for the proposal to be defeated in emails and Facebook posts before the meeting. They mentioned 9/11, complained about the loud chanting they thought would come with funerals and said on the Community of Bosniaks’ Facebook page that Islam “isn’t peace loving.” (Also, Muslims do NOT use caskets, they just throw the bodies in the ground with a sheet)
“We feel like it’s them not really knowing our culture, like they’re afraid of the unknown,” said Darel Duliman, a spokesman for the Community of Bosniaks, before the vote. “They don’t want to mention we’re Muslim. It’s been coded with everything you can imagine.” (They are VERY familiar with Islam which is why they don’t want Muslims, even dead Muslims)
Dozens of residents came to the meeting to oppose the cemetery, and several said they thought it was unfair that their property values could be harmed by it. “I would not have moved to the community had I known there was a MUSLIM cemetery up the street,” said one neighbor, Kenneth Rowe. “We would’ve never bought down here if we’d known a MULSIM cemetery was here.”
Commissioner Tommy Hunter, who made the motion for denial, said it was a difficult decision. The commission then voted for denial without discussion. The county’s planning commission had recommended approval of 500 plots, though the Community of Bosniaks, which made the request, asked for 2,000.
Metro Atlanta’s Bosnian community counts about 8,000 members, and 80 percent of them are in Gwinnett. Ismet Zejnelovic, imam for the Community of Bosniaks Georgia, said his community has 750 families, but he expected more would have joined in order to be buried in the cemetery.
“We are European; we’re different from other Muslims,” Zejnelovic said. (HAH! You can take the Muslim out of Middle East but you can’t remove him from the violent, hate-filled teachings of Islam)
Several who emailed and called about the proposed cemetery prior to the vote implied they did not want the cemetery nearby because of the religion of many users, without saying it outright.
“It’s more that it’s us, that we’re Muslim,” Duliman said. (BINGO!)