The first purpose built multi-faith crematorium in the UAE opened in Al Ain on Thursday. The new facility is not limited by visa restrictions and the service will be available to residents of all non-Muslim faiths in all emirates.
Gopi Pandiath, a spokesman for the Indian Social Centre in Al Ain, says “It is a relief for members of the local Indian community, who wish to be cremated here in the UAE. This has always been a complicated process, but we now have access to this new quality service close to home.”
The crematorium is audited for quality assurance purposes and will be operated according to the highest European standards and practices in accordance with the ICCM (Institute of Crematorium and Cemetery Management). Lurista LLC an Abu Dhabi-based management consultancy will manage the facility on behalf of the Al Ain Municipality. Lurista has created a new division to provide funeral services which will partner with the Westerleigh Group, a developer and operator of crematoria in the UK to ensure the delivery of the finest quality of service.
An average of 140 expatriate deaths per month are handled by the Abu Dhabi Mortuary. In Al Ain, the average number of deaths is 75 per month, of which 25 are repatriated and 50 are Muslims who are interred locally.
Don Fox, who has over 20 years of experience working for the Abu Dhabi Mortuary will be managing the crematorium and burial ground for all non-Muslims.
He says the equipment installed at the crematorium complies with rigorous international environmental legislation, ensuring lower impact on the environment.
“Although there is a licensed incinerator in Dubai it is strictly tied to residence visas, which means even expatriates who have lived in Abu Dhabi for many years were not able to have their funerals there,” added Fox.
“Every effort has to be made to create an unshakeable air of understanding and dignity throughout this whole procedure to assist the bereaved to come to terms with their loss and relieve them of a highly stressful set of tasks,” he observed.
The Anglican Bishop of Cyprus and the Gulf, the Right Reverend Michael Lewis blessed the chapel at the crematorium which will be dedicated on behalf of the Anglican community to St. Thomas.
He was joined by VIPs and representatives of different faiths in inaugurating this facility which is available to the whole non-Muslim community in the UAE. During the weekends, the Chapel will be made available to the Saint Thomas Anglican congregation in Al Ain.