The Spartanburg County Planning Commission gave preliminary approval Tuesday for a new Muslim cemetery, to be built off Mount Pleasant Road by the Islamic Society of Greenville.

The five-acre site will hold 1,444 plots for Muslim burial. The Islamic Society of Greenville has about 200 families as members and has about a half-dozen deaths per year, said Zafer Mohiuddin, who was among four men representing the Islamic Society of Greenville at the commission’s meeting.

“We want to have a private cemetery, exclusively for Muslim burial,” Mohiuddin said. “Our community has increased in strength, so we wanted to have this.”

The new cemetery is believed to be the first cemetery of any kind to be built in Spartanburg County in at least 15 years.

The land, situated off Mount Pleasant Road between Highway 221 and Gossett Road, just north of I-85, was donated to the society by one of its members, Riaz Khan, who owns a total of 40 acres. Previously, Mohiuddin said, the group had buried its dead at a section it purchased at the Fort Prince Memorial Gardens in Wellford, which is owned by Floyd Cemeteries.

The set of plots at Fort Prince – aligned per Muslim law from northwest to southeast, so that the bodies can be laid on their sides facing northeast toward Mecca – is the only known Muslim burial site in the Upstate.

Chaudhry Sadiq, the president of the South Carolina chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said that the only cemetery he knows of in South Carolina that is devoted solely to Muslims is a 10-acre site near the town of Cope, about 12 miles southwest of Orangeburg. It is owned by the Islamic Center of Columbia, according to that organization’s Web site.


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