MEND Press Release: British Muslims distraught at possibility of ‘forced cremations’
Saturday March 21 2020
The Coronavirus Bill 2019-21 is due to have its second reading in the House of Commons on Monday 23rd March.
As it is currently written, the Bill will allow designated local authorities to disregard section 46(3) of the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984, which is designed to prevent a local authority from being able to cremate a body against the wishes of the deceased.
Whilst the purpose of the legislation is to deal with a potential surge in deaths and lack of grave space capacity arising from the current tragedy, Muslims urge the Government to respect the wishes of religious minorities in line with Article 9 of the Human Rights Act that protects freedom of thought, belief and religion, and amend the proposed bill to ensure no Muslim or Jewish family is forced to undergo the trauma of seeing their loved one cremated.
CEO of MEND Dr Shazad Amin said “The sanctity of the dead body and the importance of religious burial is an integral component of religious practice for Muslims, as well as Jews. Cremation is forbidden in Islam and Judaism and therefore, the possibility of forcing a cremation upon the loved ones of these communities would add further anguish and trauma to bereaved families, who themselves may be in self-isolation.”
We, therefore, call on our political representatives to amend the Bill as it currently stands to protect communities from the compounded grief of, not only potentially losing loved ones, but being forced to see their loved one cremated against their religious beliefs.
MEND is available for comment on this story. Please contact [email protected]
Notes for Editors
- MEND is a not-for-profit company that helps to empower and encourage British Muslims within local communities to be more actively involved in British media and politics.
- MEND’s work has been commended by the World Economic Forum and EU’s Parliament Magazine.
- MEND works with the Crown Prosecution Service, police forces, schools and communities across the UK to tackle Islamophobia.
- For more information contact: [email protected]