Sri Lanka to forcefully cremate bodies of COVID-19 Muslim victims

Five of the deceased were cremated on Wednesday, police said.


  • Sri Lanka has decided to cremate the bodies of Muslim coronavirus victims.
  • Cremating bodies for Muslims is prohibited in Islam.
  • The majority of COVID-19 victims in Sri Lanka are Muslims.

Sri Lanka is set to continue cremating Muslim coronavirus victims’ bodies, overriding the families’ objections against the compulsory policy.

Since October, the island nation has been experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases, with the number of infections increasing more than eightfold to more than 30,000 and 146 dead.

Coronavirus victims’ bodies are claimed by families and then cremated – a practice forbidden under Islam – under the strict supervision of health authorities.

Yet families of 19 Muslims ended by the virus have refused to claim the bodies from a morgue in the capital Colombo, prompting an edict to proceed with cremation issued by Attorney General Dappula de Livera.

“Bodies of COVID-19 victims not claimed by families can be cremated in terms of quarantine regulations,” De Livera’s spokesperson said on Wednesday, adding that the bodies would be cremated this week.

(Azath Salley)

Five of the deceased were cremated on Wednesday, police said.

The policy has been challenged by Muslims and Catholics, with 12 petitions filed by the minority communities and civil society groups in the Supreme Court.

However, the top court rejected the petitions last week, without giving reasons for its decision.

Rehab Mahamoor, a research colleague at Amnesty International, said that Muslims’ cremation against their religious beliefs was “unjust.”

“International guidelines clearly state bodies of the coronavirus victims can be buried or cremated, and Sri Lanka stands to use the pandemic to marginalize the Muslim community further,” Mahamoor added.

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The Muslim Council of Sri Lanka (MCSL) has said most of the country’s coronavirus victims were Muslim.

A council spokesman added that the community members feared seeking medical help if they tested positive for COVID-19, as they did not want to be cremated.

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) last month pressed Sri Lanka to permit Muslims to bury their loved ones “as per their religious beliefs and obligations.

The World Health Organization (WHO) states that both burials and cremations are permitted for COVID-19 victims.

Sri Lanka has a population of around 21 million, of which some 10% are Muslims.

What are your views on this? Share with us in the comments below.

  • جب تک مسلمان نہیں بنتے ان کے ساتھ ایسا ہی ہوتا رہے گا دنیا میں ہر جگہ
    کیونکہ ابھی تک یہ سارے مسلمان ہیں ہی نہیں
    کوئی سنی ہے کوئی شیعہ کوئی وہابی کوئی دیو بندی ،کوئی اہل حدیث کوئی بلا بلا بلا بلا
    جس یہ سارے مسلمان بنُگئے دنیا پر چھا جائیں گے

  • So sad n unjust???
    May Allah pak forgive us n finish this virus n protect Muslims all around the world Ameen


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