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Burial crisis in Bahrain

14 June 2013

CHURCH leaders and Western ambassadors in Bahrain are meeting on Monday to discuss a strategy to deal with an impending problem: the Christian cemetery on the island is likely to run out of space within two years.

The Dean of St Christopher's Cathedral, in Manama, the Very Revd Christopher Butt, said that the churchmen and ambassadors - members of the Christian Cemeteries Committee - were expected to send a delegation to the Bahraini government.

Soaring land prices mean that the island's Christian community cannot afford to buy a site large enough to become a new cemetery, and a number of requests for an appropriate plot to be donated by the government have been made to King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa.

The hope is that the government will "agree to set aside a reasonably sized piece of land that is walled and private - large enough for some 300 graves. This would be sufficient for the next 30 years," the Dean said.

At present, there are only 20 burial spaces available in the New Christian Cemetery at Salmabad. "We are not facing a crisis at the moment," Dean Butt said. "But time is running out. So there is some anxiety about what would happen if this matter isn't resolved."

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