A grieving family are fighting to prevent their grandfather being thrown out of his final resting place, after a Muslim family objected to their relative being buried next to a “non-believer”.
Mr Shadrack Smith, 89, was laid to rest last month in Leicestershire after over 400 people attended his funeral, including his eight children, 25 grandchildren and 40 great grandchildren. But since then Burbage Parish Council, which operates the grave yard, has received a complaint about his burial.
Smith was described as a popular figure within in Romany community, and was buried in at the multi-faith cemetery in Lychgate Lane Cemetery. His family paid for £2500 for three plots, and he was buried facing towards his home, as is the tradition in his community. But this proved unacceptable to the so-far unnamed Muslim family, according to the Daily Mail.
The Parish Council received the request from the Muslim family to have him exhumed shortly after, a move that his family say they will fight “tooth and nail”. Smith’s next of kin were warned of the threat to his grave just two weeks after his funeral.
His daughter-in-law Tracey Smith 46, told the Mail: “This whole thing has devastated our family. We were told when we bought the plots that it was a multi-faith cemetery and it is, but the council has been so unsupportive.
“I feel for the Muslim family because they obviously thought they were going to only have other Muslim families buried around them, but that’s not our fault, or our mistake. We have been in the right, and yet the council has tried to bend over backwards to please the Muslim family.”
She added: “We have been told we might have to exhume Shady if the council decide to side with the Muslim family. My mother-in-law found a plot which faced their home, which is a Romany tradition, and it was perfect.
“So we paid, but to then have the council trying to get us to move when we have done nothing wrong, it’s disgusting. We have not been able to grieve because of all this drama, and it’s been awful.”
The council said they wanted to come to an “amicable solution” and had already suggested using one of the Smith family’s plots to create a “segregation”. They will rule tomorrow, but they do have the power to move his body without the family’s consent.