Sheffield Council refuses to bury Christians on a Saturday
A council has barred a grieving family from burying their stepfather on a Saturday - because he was not Muslim.
Harold 'Charlie' Lemaire died last week aged 75 from pneumonia. His stepdaughter, Jean Maltby, wanted the funeral to be held this Saturday so family who live outside the city could attend.
The retired steel worker's stepson Stephen lives in Dorset while other members of his family live as far away as the Isle of Man.
But when her funeral director called Sheffield's City Road Cemetery to arrange a memorial service followed by burial, he was told the funeral would not be allowed on a Saturday because the family was not Muslim.
The city's council confirmed it does not offer funerals at the weekend except to Muslims, in line with the rules of the Islamic faith that the dead must be buried as soon as possible.
Ms Maltby said today she felt it was unfair to offer weekend funerals to one religion and not to others.
'It should be one rule for everyone - and I don't think the people of Sheffield realise the council has made this decision,' she said.
'It goes against the council's policy of equal rights. They are making a service available to one sector of the community and not another.'...
Let us be clear here. Undertakers have no problem with funerals on a Saturday. And Islamic groups have backed calls for all faiths to be treated equally. The initiative has come from some PC-obsessed jobsworth on the Labour-controlled* Sheffield Council.
Cranmer wonders why the council's own code of conduct and anti-discrimination guidelines do not cover this manifest inequality. But he more than suspects they do. All it will take is for someone to threaten court action, and the policy will rapidly be changed.
*Sheffield Council became Liberal Democrat in May 2008. The policy emanates from the Labour era.