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Last Updated: Friday, 5 October 2007, 19:44 GMT 20:44 UK
Grave issues delay Muslim burial
Poundbury Cemetery
Part of the cemetery was allocated for Islamic burials
The first Islamic funeral has been held in Dorset but mourners faced a delay because the grave was dug incorrectly.

Located at Poundbury Cemetery, on land owned by Prince Charles, it was 90 degrees out of alignment.

It meant that the body of Mustafa Cafer, 62 could not be buried to face east towards the holy city of Mecca, according to Islamic customs.

"It was difficult for everyone and we waited about two hours [for it to be re-dug]," said Imam Majid Yasin.

Muslim customs require that the grave be oriented northeast to southwest and the body placed on its right side facing east towards the birth place of the Prophet Muhammad.

'Not prepared'

Dr Akeel Moosa of Dorset County Hospital, who is a Muslim, said they were not aware that Mr Cafer, who was hospitalised there, was a Muslim.

"We were not aware of his existence until after he had passed away," he told the BBC.

"Then the vicar was basically chasing us to find out how to prepare his burial according to Islamic rules and we were not prepared for it."

Prince Charles provided 4.7acres (1.9ha) of land at Poundbury in Dorchester for the cemetery with part being allocated for Muslim burials.

Muslim leaders said they will now work with local funeral directors to avoid any further misunderstanding.

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