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37 British Muslim Organizations Demand A Stop To Sri Lanka’s Forced Cremations During Covid

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Despite the World Health Organization allowing the burial of coronavirus victims, the Sri Lankan government continues to impose forced cremations on the victims of the virus.

Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic, the Sri Lankan government has enforced a strict policy of cremation of all COVID-19 victims. This has included Muslims and Christians, where cremation of the deceased is strictly forbidden.

The World Health Organisation also updated their guidance entitled, Infection Prevention and Control for the safe management of a dead body in the context of COVID-19’ on 4th September 2020 where they clearly state that victims can be buried.

In addition, the official panel of health experts in Sri Lanka has reinforced their original message that burying COVID-19 victims is sufficient.

Despite this, the Sri Lankan government has insisted on its current compulsory cremation policy. We have condemned this policy and demanded the Sri Lankan government to change it. We will also work to escalate pressure going forward.

The UN has recently called the forced cremation policy a human rights violation.

37 British Muslim organisations, consisting largely of masjids and religious organisations, has signed a letter addressing the Sri Lankan High Commission in London expressing grave concern and condemnation of the forced cremation policy by the Sri Lankan government.

The letter also demands that the “Sri Lankan Government immediately revoke their compulsory policy of forced cremation in light of the guidance from the WHO in order to permit those families that wish to bury their dead in accordance with their respective religious burial rites.”

One of the signatories, Imran Shah, CEO of MPACUK said:

“The only possible explanation for the Sri Lankan government to ignore this medical advice is to weaponise the pandemic and further scapegoat Sri Lanka’s Muslim minority and distract from its own corruption and poor governance of the pandemic.

“What is particularly disturbing is this government is using deceased Muslims as a means to instill fear into the living. It shows Islamophobes hold nothing sacred and will violate every part of our lives until we oppose them and get organised.”

One of the organisers of the open letter, Tahir Mirza of the Muslim Voice for Peace, also stated:

“The Muslim community here in the UK were absolutely appalled at the forced cremations of Muslim victims of Covid-19 by the Sri Lankan Government. The immense outrage led Muslim Voice for Peace, an organisation which has recently been set up to take on issues affecting Muslims both here in the UK and on an international level, to register our disgust to the Sri Lankan High Commissioner with the support of Muslim organisations across the UK.”

The full list of organisations that have signed the letter are listed below:

Muslim Voice for Peace

Jamia Mohulislam Siddiquea, London

Sri Lankan Dispora UK

Mend, Newham

Masjid-E-Tauheed, Manor Park, London

Masjid-E-Quba, Forest Gate, London

Indian Muslim Federation, Newham, London

Indian Muslim Federation (UK)

Hazrat Sultan Bahu Trust, Al-Hira Educational Centre, London

UKIM Masjid Ibrahim, Plaistow, London

Imamia Mission

East London UK

Shahjalal Mosque, Manor Park, London

Newham North Islamic Association, London

Islamic Association of North London

Islamic Dawah Centre, London

Sri Lankan Muslim Community of East London

Muslim Public Affairs Committee UK (MPACUK)

Quwwat-ul-Islam , London

Markaz UD Dawat Wal Irshad, East Ham, London

Mohul Ul Islam Siddiquia, London

Abdullah Aid

UKIM Masjid Bilal & Islamic Centre

London Hanfia Ghousia Masjid, Bedford

Windsor Muslim Association, Windsor

Daarul Huda Masjid & Madrasa, Bedford

Jamia Masjad Gulshan E Baghdad, London

Dorset Community Centre and Masjid, London

Purley Masjid, London

London Muslim Community Forum

Finsbury Park Mosque, London

Al-Manaar Mosque and Centre,

London Federation of Redbridge Muslim Organisations –16 organisations

ConsortiumM Network Limited

International Muslim Movement (Umbrella body for all Mosques under Jamaat Ahle Sunnat UK)

Waltham Forest Islamic Organisation

Luton Central Mosque, Luton, Bedfordshire

Association of Muslim Lawyers

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