Former Argentine president buried in Islamic cemetery

Carlos Menem was born to Syrian immigrant parents and raised as a Muslim before converting to Roman Catholicism

Bala Chambers   | 16.02.2021
Former Argentine president buried in Islamic cemetery üü ( Mariano Gabriel Sanchez - Anadolu Ajansı )


Former Argentine President Carlos Saul Menem was laid to rest Monday at an Islamic cemetery in the province of Buenos Aires.  

His funeral came after current President Alberto Fernandez declared over the weekend that Argentina observes three days of national mourning. 

"He is going to rest in the Islamic cemetery alongside my brother, even though he adhered to the Catholic religion. But he is going to be with my brother," said Menem's daughter Zulemita on Sunday. 

Menem was born on July 2, 1930, to Syrian immigrant parents and was raised as a Muslim before converting to Roman Catholicism to undertake a political career. 

He was buried next to his son Carlos Menem Jr., who died in a helicopter accident in 1995. 

On Sunday, Menem’s wake took place. 

President Fernandez and First Lady Fabiola Yanez paid their respects. 

Fernandez also offered his condolences to both Menem's ex-wife Zulema and his daughter Zulemita. 

Menem's family also held a small and intimate ceremony.

On Monday, as the hearse left Congress, the funeral procession began around 3.30 p.m. with shouts from his supporters of "Menem! Menem!"

Amid tight security, a group of people congregated outside the Islamic cemetery of San Justo in the neighborhood of La Matanza.

A private ceremony was held with only Menem's close friends and family members in attendance.

Local reports say there was a reading from the Quran and a recital of Muslim prayer.

After the funeral, a rendition of Frank Sinatra's song 'My Way' was played, according to local reports.

Menem, a controversial figure in Argentine politics who was adored by his supporters and detested by his detractors, had experienced a deterioration in his health over the course of 2020, being hospitalized on several occasions.​​​​​​​

He governed Argentina from 1989-1999 and was a senator of La Rioja province at the time of his death.

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