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Initial design OK’d for Islamic cemetery

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LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. (AP) — Plans for an Islamic cemetery in Gwinnett County are moving forward after county commissioners agreed to a disputed, preliminary design for a 5-acre cemetery.

Gwinnett County planning commissioners unanimously endorsed the proposal for a 1,276-plot cemetery in this Atlanta suburb. A final vote will be held later this month.

Members of the Georgia Islamic Institute in Lawrenceville have been trying for more than 18 months to win approval for a cemetery.

Local officials balked at first because of Islamic burial practices, which call for wrapping the body in a shroud, without embalming and without a casket or vault, and interring it within 24 hours of death. Neighbors also worried about the impact of the cemetery on property values.