Sabry says looking into possibility of burying Muslim COVID-19 victims

Mohamed Ali Sabry

Justice Minister Ali Sabry, PC said on Sunday that on an initiative made by him, action is being taken to reconsider the Government’s decision on cremation of COVID-19 infected bodies.

The Minister was speaking at an event at the Kollupitiya Jummah Mosque on Sunday. On a directive from the Prime Minister’s Office to the Department of Islamic Affairs, a number of mosques in principal towns in the city conducted special prayers to invoke the blessings of Almighty Allah to save the country and its people from the scourge of COVID-19. Prayers were conducted in mosques in Kollupitiya, Kurunegala town, Vavuniya, Ampara and Negombo.

Speaking further, the Minister said: “An 18 member Technical Committee comprising two Muslim doctors are working on it and trying to re-introduce the burial of the COVID-19 infected bodies.” Sabry further urged some vested interests not to politicize the matter and make things worse in such a crucial period where the whole Sri Lanka is undergoing a scourge due to COVID-19.

Sabry explained that not only Sri Lanka, the whole world is undergoing the scourge of the COVID-19 virus. “We are less affected by this virus because of the planned programmes of the Government headed by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.”

“We know full well that more than 180 countries in the world are for the burial of the COVID-19 infected bodies. However, he said, Sri Lanka’s Technical Committee still feels that the conditions are not ripe in the country to revoke the compulsory cremation policy of the government.

“We are negotiating with the Technical Committee how best the burial could be compromised with conditions required for burial of such bodies. “We can provide the authorities places of burial where the water level is very deep, the Minister said, stressing that it has to be resolved in a scientific manner which could satisfy the Technical Committee.”

He advised the Muslims in Sri Lanka not to fall prey to the vicious propaganda which is targeting the government on this issue. “ The government solely goes by the decision of the Technical Committee, which is the only competent body to decide on such matters,” he stressed. Rejecting moves by a fraction of the community to stage street demonstrations, Sabry said more things can be wrought by prayers and negotiations than resorting to such unwanted actions.

Responding to the Minister’s speech, President of the All-Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama Sheik Rizwe Mufthi said he was glad that Minister Sabry spoke out about the cremation matter which has been worrying the Muslim community.

“We are happy that things are going in the right direction to resolve this issue and we pray that it should happen soon,” he added.

Others who were present included Kollupitiya Jummah Mosque Trustee Board Vice President Muslim Salahudeen, Director of Muslim Cultural Department M.B.M. Ashraff, the Prime Minister’s Muslim Religious Affairs Co-ordinating Secretary Farzan Mansoor, the Prime Minister’s Muslim Religious Affairs Co-odinating Officer Ash Sheikah Hassan Moulana, Ulamas Ash Sheikah Amhar Hakamdeen, Jammiyathul Ulama President Sheik Rizwe Mufthi and Islamic scholars.

(Source: Daily News – By Mohammed Rasooldeen)