Kuwait’s plan to convert old cemeteries into parks draws debate


The Kuwait City Municipal Council has been working on a number of projects, including plans to convert old cemeteries into parks, relocate the city’s zoo, and build new housing units, the local media has reported.

A local newspaper has reported that after being confronted with protests over plans to convert some of 50 cemeteries in Kuwait into public parks, of which only cemeteries in three areas are in use, the municipality decided to put the plans on hold for now.

Speaking to Kuwait Times, Muhalhal Al Khaled, director of the Municipal Council, said: “There is a rule that after 50 years of disuse, a cemetery goes out of service and can be changed into a park. An example is the Baladiya Park, which was originally a graveyard. Later, a fatwa was issued forbidding this change, and ideas were proposed to build multi-storey car parks on cemetery grounds. Many conflicts ensued, so the municipality preferred not to execute these projects and avoid problems. So we only planted flowers on top of the gravesites.


“One cemetery is in Jahra, three in Sulaibikhat for Sunnis, Shiites and non-Muslims, and one in Subhan. All other cemeteries are abandoned and not used anymore.”

He added that the Sulaibikhat cemetery would expand from the boundary wall to Jahra Road and the mosque there would be shifted to the residential area in Nahda. “The new expansion of the Sulaibikhat cemetery will include the non-Muslim cemetery,” noted Khaled.

Other projects include transferring the zoo to Mutlaa from its present location in Omariya. Al Khaled said: “It will be much bigger there. I don’t think that the distance will stop people from visiting it, as today the roads are modern and a long drive is part of a picnic far away from the city. Also, Mutlaa will be a residential city and to have the zoo there is better than in a crowded area.”

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