- Associated Press - Friday, June 24, 2016

UTICA, N.Y. (AP) - Officials at a central New York cemetery say they’re just following state laws when they remove rocks and other items adorning Muslim graves.

The Observer-Dispatch of Utica reports (https://bit.ly/28PT4QE ) members of a Bosnian Muslim family lined a recently deceased loved-one’s gravesite at New Forest Cemetery with bricks and covered it with small white stones.

When the family revisited the grave, they discovered the bricks and stones had been removed by the cemetery’s staff. In a letter sent to cemetery officials, the family calls the removal “disrespectful, unjust and discriminatory.”

But cemetery officials say they’re simply abiding by state cemetery regulations that stipulate any plant life, fencing, embellishment or structure may be removed by staff if it’s found to be “worn, neglected, broken or deteriorated.”

The cemetery’s policy also prohibits grave adornments of any kind.

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