Lebanese landowners to establish cemetery for Syrians following outrage over child’s exhumation
Lebanese landowners in the town of Assoun have donated some of their land to establish a cemetery for Syrians, following an outcry over the exhumation of a deceased Syrian child.
Last Friday, the body of a four-year-old Syrian child was removed from a cemetery in the northern
Lebanese town, reportedly on the orders of the town’s mayor, Roula al-Baya.
The exhumation was justified on the grounds that the cemetery was "only for Lebanese".
Lebanon, a country of roughly 4 million people, hosts an estimated 1.5 to 2 million Syrian refugees who have fled the conflict which erupted in Syria in 2011.
Syrian refugees have increasingly been subjected to harassment and racism in recent years, some of which is encouraged by senior Lebanese politicians.
One of the Lebanese landowners who donated land for the cemetery was Khaled Abdul Qader, a professor of Islamic law.
In a Facebook post, he said that the donated land would be "a religious endowment for any deceased person from our Syrian brothers and sisters. It will be only for them and no one else".
Abdul Qader added that "what happened in our town - the exhumation of the child - is something totally unacceptable, in terms of religion, law, and humanity".
He said that other landowners in the town had donated a greater amount of land than he had.
The exhumation was condemned by Sheikh Firas Ballout, the head of the religious endowments department of Tripoli in Lebanon and by the opposition Syrian National Coalition.
Arab Twitter users also reacted angrily, with one Jordanian journalist saying that racism against Syrians had reached "a vulgar depth".