The leaders of a tiny upstate town some 180 miles from Ground Zero are demanding that a Muslim group dig up and remove two bodies they buried on their land.
They say the group, a Sufi religious order, is maintaining an illegal cemetery in Sidney, N.Y., - pop. 5,993.
A spokesman for the Osmanli Naksibendi Hakkani order claims the town okayed the burial ground five years ago and is singling them out now simply because they're Muslims.
"I think it's out of bigotry," said Hans Hass, who also is the head of the local EMS unit. "They don't like us being here, even though we've been here since 2002."
Town supervisor Bob McCarthy raised objections to their cemetery right around the time protests erupted in downtown Manhattan over plans to build an Islamic Center near Ground Zero, Hass said.
"I don't think it's a coincidence," he told The Daily News.
McCarthy, a Republican, said his objections have nothing to do with whether or not they are Muslim. "People just can't go bury a body in a field," he told The News. (More)