While visiting the grave of his wife, Mahassen Charara, on the nineteenth anniversary of her sudden death due to a brain aneurism, Abdul Charara was horrified to discover that the cemetery had buried someone else in the family plot next to her—again.
Four years earlier, the family had discovered that the cemetery had accidentally buried a man with a very similar name to Mr. Charara in that same family plot. The family pursued legal action in order to force the cemetery, United Memorial Gardens, in Plymouth, Michigan, to move the body and correct its mistake. They finally settled out of court in December 2013.
"The Charara family is devastated by the discovery of another mis-burial in their plot, that they purchased, and have held a deed for since the year 2000,” Tarek M. Baydoun, attorney for the Charara family, told NBC News. “They are reliving a tragedy that they never fully recovered from.”
For Muslims, exhumation and reburial is considered particularly grievous, disturbing the soul of the deceased. Baydoun calls erring on such a sensitive issue “recklessness.”
“There have been reports about double-selling of plots in this cemetery and others, and it is truly disturbing,” he said. “The family has demanded that the cemetery take immediate remedial actions to ensure the family that this can never happen again.”
United Memorial Gardens is a non-denominational cemetery owned by a large corporation which features an “Islamic Garden” section exclusively for Muslim burials.