SIDNEY CENTER, New York — Members of a small Muslim community in 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 30-member Sufi community in Sidney, 130 miles (209 kilometers) northwest of New York City, said Tuesday that anti-Islamic bigotry motivated a town board vote to pursue legal action to shut down the cemetery. Hass said he has a zoning board document saying the cemetery is legal and has burial permits.
But Town Supervisor Bob McCarthy said the cemetery is illegal and bigotry had nothing to do with the board decision. He said his concern is the town might get stuck taking care of the cemetery someday if it's abandoned.