By Elizabeth Broomhall
Facility aims to cater for non-Muslims unable to be buried in country
Managers of the UAE’s first and only crematorium have said they are hoping to cater for increasing expatriate funeral needs after carrying out around a dozen cremations in the first four months of operation.
The facility, which was opened in January this year, aims to accommodate non-Muslims living in the UAE who do not want to be buried or whose religious faith will not allow it.
The country has previously not operated a crematorium, since Islam stipulates that only a burial is allowed after death.
Al Foah Funeral Services, which has been contracted to run the building, say they have already seen strong interest from expats, including Filipinos, Austrians, Australians and non-Muslim Indians.
“The service we can offer here - no one else can,” said Carl Fox, deputy manager of the crematorium, and the son of Al Foah’s CEO Don Fox.
“I think certainly there is a big need for it. It ties in with a lot of people’s faiths.”
He added that the firm also offers repatriation services and has an adjacent cemetery which is ready to be used after landscaping.
There are other non-Muslim cemeteries around the country, he said, but many of these are not up to standard.
According to media reports, Abu Dhabi government donated the land and paid around US$10m to build the new property, which was completed but without an operator for some time. The machine needed for cremations bumped up the cost by US$2m.
Official figures quoted say there were around 4,300 expatriate deaths in the emirates of Abu Dhabi and Dubai in 2010.
I would like to inform the writer that the Al Foah crematorium is not UAE's first. There is one located in Dubai's New Sonapur off Exit 13 (Sh.Zayed Highway) As far as I know this crematorium has been used since 2006.
I agree with Liz - there's been a crematorium in Dubai's Sonapur area for a long time (maybe even longer than before 2006). So called 'we-are-the-first' should always be verified.
Absolutely right. Sonapur crematorium has been in existence and in use since years. This is definitely not the first in UAE.
I would like to respond by pointign out the Crematorium in Dubai as mentioned above is not officially a crematorium but is in fact an incinerator. I essentially plays the same role but over a much longer period.