Kansas City Families Demand Cemetery Expand Access


KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Last August, 3-year-old Elaph Hasan Qureini and 1-year-old Makeen Hasan Qureini died of accidental drowning. A year later, their father, Hasan Qureini, denounces the cemetery in which his children are buried.

“You can’t keep my children here hostage,” Qureini said. “I want to be able to come in and visit.”

After the deaths of their two children, Qureini said he and his wife began visiting the Central American Muslim Cemetery in southeast Kansas City five days a week to pray and mourn. The Islamic Society of Greater Kansas City maintains the cemetery.

Qureini, 62, said the cemetery’s limited opening hours create obstacles for families looking for a space to heal.

“The thing is, they close that door on weekdays and they lock it around 5 a.m.,” he said. “Some people have jobs that end at 5 a.m., so they lose the ability to visit.”

He said management began locking the gates to the cemetery after discovering lawn care equipment was missing inside the utility shed. But Qureini told FOX4 the thieves have returned multiple times, so padlocking the doors hasn’t solved the problem.

“What’s happening here is this gate and this fence are preventing good people from visiting,” Qureini said. “Thieves, they always come and steal.”

The director told FOX4 Problem Solvers that the cemetery maintains hundreds of graves and the majority of people don’t care about the cemetery’s schedule because even though the gate is locked, there is a door that visitors can use. to enter.

But the door is also closed and blocked by the cemetery sign, which means that anyone who is disabled or too tall to pass the sign does not have access.

“Some people are older than me, some people have disability issues and they don’t (visit) because the door is closed,” Qureini said.

Qureini said the visitation schedule was only half the problem. He said visitors are encouraged to park illegally on the street, forced to walk a quarter mile uphill to the burial grounds and put themselves in dangerous driving situations when exiting the cemetery.

“If you park there, it’s steep up the hill,” he said. “You’re blocking the pedestrian lane, so if someone walks in that direction, they actually have to drive around the car, putting someone’s life at risk.”

He said backing out of the cemetery is dangerous because the exit leads to a four-lane road with a 40mph speed limit.

“The speed limit there is 40 and, you know, everybody drives 43 or 44,” he said. “It’s quite dangerous.”

Qureini said one employee even admitted to having an accident at the entrance to the cemetery, specifically when trying to back up on a busy road.

FOX4 spoke with other families who said they have family members who use wheelchairs, which prevents them from entering the cemetery. A woman told Problem Solvers that her father was unable to visit his brother and wife in the last years of his life and died before he could properly grieve.

“My wife is pregnant,” Qureini said. “Let’s put it this way, she can’t walk, pulling a kid a quarter mile one way and a quarter mile back.”

“I mean, come on, it doesn’t take a genius to see that’s wrong.”

Management said a master plan was underway to improve the cemetery, but it could take two years.

In the meantime, Qureini said he continues to offer management suggestions to which he receives “no response”, such as a coded padlock whose code only grieving families know, or even GPS trackers to place on equipment. target.

“An expensive piece of equipment is worth putting a tiny little device in there, because if the thief comes and steals, he’ll come back again and again and again,” he said.


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