Feds Investigating Town of Dudley's Rejection of Muslim Cemetery | NECN
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Feds Investigating Town of Dudley's Rejection of Muslim Cemetery

Federal prosecutors are investigating whether a Massachusetts town violated the civil rights of an Islamic group when officials there rejected plans for a Muslim cemetery

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    The Islamic Society of Greater Worcester signed an agreement to buy the 55-acre property, but the town of Dudley rejected the group's proposal to change the zoning. Federal prosecutors are now investigating whether the town violated civil rights of the Islamic group. (Published Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016)

    Residents of Dudley, Massachusetts are frustrated that a battle over whether this farmland can be turned into an Islamic cemetery is now being investigated by the U.S. Attorney as a possible civil rights violation. 

    Dudley Town Selectman Peter Fox said, "We're not trying to block anybody, we're just trying to execute our rights."

    Earlier this year, the Islamic Society of Greater Worcester signed an agreement to buy the 55-acre property, but the town rejected the group's proposal to change the zoning from agricultural and began exploring purchasing the property itself.

    Dudley Town Administrator Greg Balukonis said, "The town has 120 day right of first refusal to potentially acquire the property."

    Neighbors Oppose Proposed Islamic Cemetery

    [NECN] Neighbors Oppose Proposed Islamic Cemetery in Dudley, Massachusetts
    An abandoned farm in Dudley, Massachusetts, is the proposed site of an Islamic cemetery, but that plan isn't without opposition. (Published Thursday, May 5, 2016)

    But the attorney for the Islamic Society argues the town's motives have nothing to do with preserving agricultural property.

    Howard Cooper, Islamic Society attorney "The treatment of the Islamic Society of Greater Worcester's efforts to build a cemetery have run into improper and unlawful discrimination."

    It's a suggestion selectmen and residents don't take lightly. 

    Selectman Fox said, "This has absolutely nothing to do with race, the town of Dudley is not a racist community." 

    Desiree Moninski, who lives across the street said, "We don't care what kind of cemetery it is, we don't want one there."

    In fact some residents have voiced their concerns about well water contamination for dozens of nearby homes.

    Briare said, "When they dug the test pits, there was literally water 18 inches below grade, so how can you dig four feet below?"

    Cooper said, "There is absolutely no danger to the water table and really logic dictates that the notion of people burying their dead is not new."

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