BILLERICA, MASS. – A mosque in North Billerica was recently given approval by the town to build a private, nonprofit cemetery on Rangeway Road.

The 16.9 acres that the mosque, Anjuman-e-Ezzi Masjid, plans to build its cemetery on is privately owned but in foreclosure. The mosque is expected to use 1.5 acres for burial, while the remaining land will be under a conservation restriction and order from the state.

“The mosque has been a good neighbor,” said Stephen Lentine, an attorney representing Anjuman-e-Ezzi Masjid in the deal. “They have built a beautiful building there. They are now taking the next logical step to have a decent burial place.”

According to a memo written by Lentine, the cemetery will be designed to meet the burial customs of the Dawoodi Bohra Muslim sect, to which the members of the Billerica mosque belong. The sect is based in India, and most members in this area are of Indian origin.

The members of the mosque use “green burial” practices, which includes burying the body before the next sundown after the person dies, if possible. The body is cleaned and wrapped in a linen cloth, but no embalming chemicals or cremation are allowed. After a service at the mosque, the wrapped body is placed in a casket and buried in a concrete vault.

Each plot will contain only one body, which will face Mecca.


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