SIDNEY CENTER, N.Y.: Town moves to close Muslim cemetery

Members of a small Muslim community in rural upstate New York say the uproar over a planned mosque near ground zero is behind attempts by local officials to shut down the community’s graveyard and remove the two bodies buried there.

Hans Hass of the Osmanli Naksibendi Hakkani community, 130 miles northwest of Manhattan, said Tuesday that anti-Islamic bigotry motivated the Sidney Town Board’s August vote to pursue legal action to shut down the Sufi community’s cemetery.

Town Supervisor Bob McCarthy said the cemetery is illegal and bigotry has nothing to do with it. He said no legal action has been taken yet.

Hass has a 2005 document from the town zoning board saying the cemetery is legal, as well as burial permits.