Bin Laden sea burial not in line with Islam, Muslim clerics say

May 3, 2011

(Aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, from which Osama bin Laden was buried at sea somewhere in the north Arabian Sea/U.S. Navy)

Clerics in Saudi Arabia, a staunch U.S. ally and the country of Osama bin Laden’s birth, dismissed Washington’s assertions it observed Islamic rites in disposing of the al Qaeda leader’s body in the Arabian Sea. Bin Laden, shot dead by U.S. forces in a raid on a compound in Pakistan on Monday, was placed in a weighted bag and dropped into the north Arabian Sea from the deck of a U.S. aircraft carrier, the Carl Vinson, the U.S. military said.

But many Muslims in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere in the Gulf Arab region, including opponents to bin Laden’s militant ideology, said the fact funeral rites were read for him did not diminish their shock at the way his body was disposed of.

“That is not the Islamic way. The Islamic way is to bury the person in land like all other people,” said Saudi Sheikh Abdul Mohsen Al-Obaikan, an adviser to the Saudi Royal Court.

Washington said bin Laden’s body was treated with respect. He was reported to have been washed and covered in a white shroud in burial preparations that lasted nearly an hour, and religious remarks were recited before his body went underwater.

Issa al-Ghaith, a Saudi cleric and judge, said he believed Washington had made a mistake by burying bin Laden at sea, which he said was un-Islamic, adding it showed Americans “fear him even after his death.”

In Yemen, the 54-year-old militant leader’s ancestral homeland that is home to an active al Qaeda arm, critics said bin Laden’s body should have been turned over to his family. “It is not enough to do prayers over bin Laden so as to lessen the anger of his supporters or even ordinary Muslims,” said Mohammed al-Ahmedi, a Yemeni journalist.

Read the full story by Asma Alsharif and Cynthia Johnston here.

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2 comments

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[...] into the Indian Ocean. I know, I know, they did it out of respect for Muslim custom, a custom which apparently Muslims don’t have. But never mind, just believe all that. Take their word for [...]

[...] Re: Bin laden dead @TooNice: Unarmed is the latest update from the US. I don't disagree the Beeb etc may choose not to show it, but its more an issue that the US are hanging back on releasing the photo. To the last point, no not the US I'm talking about the high up clerics etc: "We are concerned that the body of this individual who's actions and beliefs we denounced was not handled in accordance of the religion we said he didn't follow or represent". Wait…what? These sorts of comments: http://blogs.reuters.com/faithworld/…m-c lerics-say/ [...]

USA did what they had to do. Bin Laden killed thousands of innocent Americans. No matter what the Islamic interpretations of law are, the body belonged to USA. That is their right to do with it as they wished. They could have burned it, or buried it and not told anyone. To me, I think they treated Osama bin Laden with 1 million times the respect that he showed to Americans. Ask the families of victims of 9/11 what they should have done with his body.

Posted by konamr | Report as abusive

[...] Bin Laden sea burial not in line with Islam, Muslim clerics say [...]

Well, it wasn’t the American Way for all of those people who were buried under the Trade Center rubble when bin Laden ordered the destruction of the Twin Towers either.

Posted by VIRATA | Report as abusive