Islamic religious law states that any Muslim who has died in the UAE must be buried. However, religious leaders have for the first time acknowledged residents who are not Muslim, by permitting the construction of the first UAE crematorium, with a non-Muslim graveyard beside it.
The crematorium and graveyard, run by Al Foah Funeral Services, will accommodate a percentage of what is estimated to be over 4000 expat deaths each year in the areas of Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
Over $12m is thought to have been invested in the facilities, by the Abu Dhabi government – an investment which shows clearly how important expats are deemed to be throughout the UAE.
Some expats consider the UAE to be their home and are happy to have their final resting place here. Until now, this has principally been in an existing non-Muslim cemetery close to the new site. For others who wish to have their body returned to the UK however, relatives can expect to have to pay around £6000 to transport the body back to British soil – a service carried out by airline Ethihad.