Death and Burial among Arab and Chaldean Americans

Friday, January 5, 2018: 8:30 AM
Columbia 9 (Washington Hilton)
Rosina Hassoun, Saginaw Valley State University
 In life, as in death, the issues of divisions among the Arab and Chaldean Americans separate people by countries of origin and by their religious backgrounds. While Arab Orthodox Christians and Catholic Chaldean prefer to be buried separately from other Christians, Muslims also prefer to be buried together, either in their own portion of a cemetery or in a separate Muslim cemetery. Division by socioeconomic status also occurs in the Detroit Metropolitan area that is home to one of America's largest Arab populations. In spite of the divisions, there are some similarities in burial practices and particularly in the ritual practice of holding special remembrance prayers for the deceased either 30 days after burial for Muslims or 40 days after burial for Christians. One common problem facing Arab and Chaldean Christians and Arab Muslims is an almost chronic shortage of space in cemeteries dedicated for their group. Issues of space and place of burial are of importance in exploring Arab and Chaldean cemeteries.
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