Tim Townsend

ST. LOUIS (RNS) When Adil Imdad’s 28-year-old cousin died of cancer in Ohio two years ago, the family’s grief was compounded by the absence of Muslim ritual following her death. There was no imam nearby to handle the religious customs, no Muslim funeral director to supervise the washing of the body, no Muslim cemetery where the family could lay her to rest.

Imdad, an environmental and geotechnical engineer in St. Louis, also was disturbed by the funeral costs. He found that many Muslim families — oftentimes newly arrived immigrants and refugees — couldn’t afford the $5,000 and $7,000 for burial services.

So he began taking night classes at St. Louis Community College, graduating last spring with a certificate of specialization in funeral directing. As Imdad awaits his state licensing exam, he is trying to raise money for what he says will be the state’s first Muslim funeral home. [Read more…]