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British Muslims Urge Parliament to Reconsider Cremation Law for Coronavirus Victims

Owing to the contagious nature of Coronavirus and crucial burial protocols to further prevent the spread of disease from the dead body, British Parliament is considering Coronavirus Bill that will make it mandatory for families to cremate their loved ones in case of death from the virus.

The bill, however, is in stark contrast with the religious values of Muslims who are urging the government to reconsider and amend the proposed bill.

“We strongly urge legislators to maintain Britain’s commitment to the fundamentals of Human Rights and Freedom of Religion. The religious beliefs of British people must be respected even in the most difficult circumstances,” said a joint statement released by Muslim organizations in the UK.

In the attempt to amend the bill which states, “disposal of bodies which includes removal of the deceased’s wishes and enforced cremations”, Bradford West Labour MP Naz Shah is lobbying to find like-minded members of parliament as she plans to floor the bill on Monday (today).

“I am aware that there is a concern in regard to burials, especially from those from religious communities. I have tabled with cross-party colleagues an Amendment to the Emergency Coronavirus Bill, to ensure if local authorities reach their capacity, they do not proceed to cremate the deceased from faith backgrounds automatically, without the consultation of family/legal guardians and/or local faith institutions,” Naz was quoted by The News.

“This will be particularly pertinent to Muslim and Jewish communities whose faiths strongly oppose cremation,” added the MP.

As per the amendment, Naz’s draft states, “In respect of sub-paragraphs 5 (a), (b), (c) where a deceased is to be cremated and it goes against their religious belief the designated authority must consult the next of kin or Power of Attorney or the relevant local faith institution in so far as reasonably possible to find a suitable alternative before proceeding with the cremation,” reported the newspaper.

Wes Streeting MP, Steve Baker MP, Mohammed Yasin MP, Imran Khan MP and Christian Wakeford MP are among the few legislators who are currently supporting the amendment in the bill.

Aisha Arshad

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