October 27, 2021

The Queens County Citizen

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Sri Lanka: Mandatory cremation of Kovid-19 victims, including Muslims

Sri Lanka: Mandatory cremation of Kovid-19 victims, including Muslims

The Sri Lankan government on Friday resumed its obligation to cremate all those who died from Kovid-19, rejecting international calls and international calls and recommendations allowing Muslims to comply with their funeral rites.

The government banned the burial of coronavirus victims for the first time in April, amid fears among Buddhist monks that the bodies could contaminate groundwater and spread the virus.

The World Health Organization (WHO) believes there is no risk, but the Sri Lankan government has refused to listen. “This decision will not be changed for social, religious, political or other personal reasons,” Health Minister Pavithra Vanniyarachi said in a statement.

A government-appointed committee of experts upheld the decision, ruling this week that cremation rites could be authorized to be buried under harsh conditions, if safe.

According to their custom, Muslims bury the dead in Mecca. Most of the Sri Lankan Buddhists who strongly support the current government usually perform cremation ceremonies similar to those of Hindus.

The Muslim community, including the Organization for Islamic Cooperation (57 members), has repeatedly expressed its concern from moderates and even abroad. The Muslim Council of Sri Lanka (SLMC) has accused the government of trying to provoke “something reckless” among young Muslims, a statement made by Justice Minister Ali Sabri himself, who is a Muslim. Echo.

According to SLMC, more than half of the 222 people who died from Kovid-19 were from the Muslim minority, making up only 10% of the 21 million residents.

“We (the Muslim community) have an unequal number of deaths because Muslims do not seek treatment for fear of cremation,” SLMC spokeswoman Hilmi Ahmed told AFP.

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The Muslim archipelago Maldives announced last month that it had sought permission to send the bodies of dead Muslims from neighboring Sri Lanka Kovid-19 to be buried there according to their rituals, Colombo has refused.

Maldives spokesman Mohammad Nasheed suggested that Sri Lankan authorities authorize the burial of Muslims in a cemetery for the Maldives in Colombo, but the suggestion was not answered.

Sri Lanka, which has seen a tremendous increase in Kovid-19 cases, now has nearly 46,800 contaminants against 3,300 in October and 222 deaths against 13.

Tensions between Muslims and the Sinhala majority are high, mostly Buddhists – from the deadly Easter 2019 attacks of jihadists on the island.