Bombing suspect’s wife to allow family to claim his body and the attempt to hold a Muslim funeral

The widow of suspected marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev said Tuesday she would let other family members claim his body, which has been kept at the Massachusetts Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for more than a week.
Under Islamic law, Muslims are customarily buried shortly after they die, normally within a day. But Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s widow, Katherine Russell, has not claimed the body and the state refused to release the body to other family members without her permission.
In an emotional interview Tuesday, Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s father, Anzor, had complained that officials were not allowing the family to bury him.
“The body should have been buried,” Anzor Tsarnaev said by telephone from Russia. “What else can you do with a dead body?”
Tsarnaev expressed sadness about the bombings, even as he dismissed the charges against his sons as a fabrication. He said he had left his home in Dagestan for another part of Russia, which he did not disclose, with his ex-wife, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva.
Tsarnaev complained that his relatives were having trouble claiming Tamerlan’s body, apparently not realizing that his son’s widow was required to first give them permission.
On Tuesday, an uncle of the Tsarnaev brothers contacted Al-Marhama, a non-profit Muslim funeral and burial service, for help with funeral arrangements for Tamerlan Tsarnaev, said Ismail Fenni, assistant imam of the Islamic Society of Boston mosque in Cambridge.
Al-Marhama notified Fenni, who said he called the uncle and assured him that people affiliated with the Cambridge mosque, where the brothers occasionally prayed, would be willing to assist.
“I know many of the members of our community want to help,” he said. “We feel for the family. They obviously are going through a hard time.”
Fenni said mosques typically do not handle funerals and burials. Families are referred to funeral homes, he said, and, often with the help of volunteers from the community or Al-Marhama, the body is cleansed and shrouded in preparation for burial. The Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center in Roxbury, which is owned by the same organization as the Cambridge mosque but run separately, also has facilities for preparing bodies for burial.
Fenni said the uncle had no details about the family’s wishes. Fenni did not know whether Tamerlan’s body would be shipped overseas or buried here, or what kind of service the family wants, if any.
The Tsarnaevs have not contacted the cultural center, Boston’s largest mosque. If asked, Imam William Suhaib Webb would refuse to pray over Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s body, said Yusufi Vali, executive director of the cultural center.
But both Webb and Fenni say it is the Muslim community’s obligation to bury its dead.
“The deceased is still a human being, and from the humanitarian side, we have to at least give him the rite of burial, regardless of what he has done,” Fenni said.

Bomber burial: Tsarnaev funeral planned after widow releases body

The uncle of the two men authorities say were behind the Boston Marathon bombing contacted a mosque to arrange a funeral for the older suspect killed shortly after the incident, the Islamic Society of Boston said.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s body has been at the medical examiner’s office in Massachusetts since he died after a gunfight with authorities more than a week ago.
Amato DeLuca, the Rhode Island attorney for his widow, Katherine Russell, said Tuesday that his client had just learned that the medical examiner was ready to release Tsarnaev’s body and that she wants it released to his side of the family.
In addition to declining to claim the body herself, which is her right as his spouse, Russell has taken other steps to distance herself from Tsarnaev since taking refuge at her family’s home on April 19, hours after her husband was killed. Her family released a statement shortly after she was escorted home by federal agents that day saying they “never really knew” Tsarnaev. Russell has also reverted to using her maiden name instead of the name listed on her marriage certificate, Tsarnaeva.

“Of course, family members will take possession of the body,” uncle Ruslan Tsarni of Maryland told The Associated Press on Tuesday night. “We’ll do it. We will do it. A family is a family.”
Tsarnaev has been dead for nearly two weeks, with his body unclaimed at the medical examiner’s office. Sharia, or Islamic law, requires the dead to be buried as soon after death as possible after a funeral ritual that includes bathing and shrouding of the body, followed by prayers. Cremation is prohibited.
Security officials suspected ties between Tsarnaev and the Canadian – an ethnic Russian named William Plotnikov – according to the Novaya Gazeta newspaper, which is known for its independence and investigative reporting and cited an unnamed official with the Anti-Extremism Center, which tracks militants. The newspaper said the men had social networking ties that brought Tsarnaev to the attention of Russian security services for the first time in late 2010.

Liège searches for burial places for Muslims

25.1.2013

Two cemetries in Liège contain burial grounds reserved for its Muslim residents. One of them has since years surpassed its level of accomodation of Muslim dead and the other is about to reach its saturation level within a year or two.

In order to find space, the authorities have analysed the soil of the cemetry for possible future burial grounds to ensure there are no human remains to be found within them. For several dozen burial places this has been the case and the civil authorities will be able to reopen them after notifying the families.

The 1400 Muslim burial places in the Robermont cemetry have been used up a long time ago. Hassan Bousetta, a Socialist  local councelor says that “the city has been on the forefront of this matter since the 1950s. Muslims from all corners of Belgium have been burried in Liege. It is thus possible to recover the space as in Muslim countries burial grounds don’t remain eternally unopened. The reusage of the soil is practiced there as well.”

In order to avoid the burial places reserved for Muslims in the cemetries of the city to fill up as quickly as before he advises the neighbouring municipalities to also recover its burial grounds.  According to the author of the article, this could also help to diminish the number of repatriation of Muslim dead to their places of ancestral origin as Belgium is their country of origin as well.

French town responds to Muslim burial needs

15 January 2013

 

Despite Islam being the second largest religion in France, rural France continues to fail to accommodate the Muslim dead. While urban areas often have cemeteries or sections of such specifically allocated to Muslims, French villages in most cases do not. With the rise of France’s Muslims population, the need for Muslim burial grounds proportionally grew. As a result, the town of Besancon was forced to enlarge its Muslim burial grounds by up to 170 burial places to accommodate the needs of its 15 000 Muslim residents.

Newly released emails say no sailors watched bin Laden’s burial at sea after Navy SEAL raid

WASHINGTON — Internal emails among U.S. military officers indicate that no sailors watched Osama bin Laden’s burial at sea from the USS Carl Vinson and traditional Islamic procedures were followed during the ceremony.

The emails, obtained by The Associated Press through the Freedom of Information Act, are heavily blacked out, but are the first public disclosure of government information about the al-Qaida leader’s death. The emails were released Wednesday by the Defense Department.

Bin Laden was killed on May 1, 2011, by a Navy SEAL team that assaulted his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

One email stamped secret and sent on May 2 by a senior Navy officer briefly describes how bin Laden’s body was washed, wrapped in a white sheet, and then placed in a weighted bag.

According to another message from the Vinson’s public affairs officer, only a small group of the ship’s leadership was informed of the burial.

Although the Obama administration has pledged to be the most transparent in American history, it is keeping a tight hold on materials related to the bin Laden raid. In a response to separate requests from the AP for information about the mission, the Defense Department said in March that it could not locate any photographs or video taken during the raid or showing bin Laden’s body. It also said it could not find any images of bin Laden’s body on the Vinson.

The Pentagon also said it could not find any death certificate, autopsy report or results of DNA identification tests for bin Laden, or any pre-raid materials discussing how the government planned to dispose of bin Laden’s body if he were killed.

Funeral Service for Riots’ Victims

18./19.08.2011

Between 20.000 and 25.000 people gathered in Birmingham’s Summerfield Park last Thursday to attend a public funeral prayer for the three Muslim men who died last week while protecting their community from rioters (as reported). Syrian Muslim scholar Scheik Muhammad al-Yaqoubi led the prayers and honored the three young men by referring to them as “martyrs”. The father of one of the victims, Tariq Jahan, who had been praised for his reaction to the deaths and his appeal to stop rioting, also addressed the mourners. According to the Guardian, he thanked the crowd for their presence and said: “This is for the three shaheeds [martyrs]. Please remember them”. A private burial ceremony was held later on Thursday.

 

Meanwhile, four men have been charged with murder and three more arrests have been made on suspicion of being involved in the murder of the three men.

Most deceased Muslims are repatriated to their home countries

October 25th, 2010

Representatives of the Muslim community in Lorca ask the town council to lend a place in the public cemetery for the burial of Muslims. As there is no Muslim cemetery in the city, the deceased are transported to the close-by region of Valencia or repatriated to their home countries to be buried. This repatriation can cost the families up to 3.000 euros.

Islamic Burial in Austria: “That is true integration”

In Vienna cemeteries have long been seen as “interconfessional,” and in 2008 a 3.4 hectare Islamic cemetery was opened. According to the speaker for the cemetery, Ali Ibrahim, “There is no longer an excuse to be repatriated to the homeland for burial, as Islamic rites are respected in Austria as well. When one is buried is the same place in which one has lived, that is true integration.”

On the other hand, Helga Bock, who works for one of the largest funeral homes in Austria, highlights that if a person wishes to be buried in one’s country of origin that does not necessarily mean that that person was not well integrated, and moreover, many such burials do not take place since the people in question might have already retired and moved back to their home countries. The repatriation of corpses itself is usually facilitated by mosque associations, such as the Turkish Islamic Union for Social and Cultural Cooperation in Austria (ATIB), while the costs are paid by years of contributions to a special fund of such associations.

All fourteen state-recognised religious groups are present in Vienna’s central cemetery, and the officials do their best to respond to the specific wishes of each group. In the case of Islam, this requires the ritual ablution of corpses divided by gender, as well as burial in a simple sheet, with the corpse facing Mecca. In Austria however, burial without a coffin is not permitted, thus Muslims are buried in softwood coffins – not dissimilar from Jews, who are also buried in coffins, but with a hole in the bottom in order for there to be direct contact with the earth.

Islamic burial in Austria: “That is true integration”

In Vienna cemeteries have long been seen as “interconfessional,” and in 2008 a 3.4 hectare Islamic cemetery was opened. According to the speaker for the cemetery, Ali Ibrahim, “There is no longer an excuse to be repatriated to the homeland for burial, as Islamic rites are respected in Austria as well. When one is buried is the same place in which one has lived, that is true integration.”

On the other hand, Helga Bock, who works for one of the largest funeral homes in Austria, highlights that if a person wishes to be buried in one’s country of origin that does not necessarily mean that that person was not well integrated, and moreover, many such burials do not take place since the people in question might have already retired and moved back to their home countries. The repatriation of corpses itself is usually facilitated by mosque associations, such as the Turkish Islamic Union for Social and Cultural Cooperation in Austria (ATIB), while the costs are paid by years of contributions to a special fund of such associations.

All fourteen state-recognised religious groups are present in Vienna’s central cemetery, and the officials do their best to respond to the specific wishes of each group. In the case of Islam, this requires the ritual ablution of corpses divided by gender, as well as burial in a simple sheet, with the corpse facing Mecca. In Austria however, burial without a coffin is not permitted, thus Muslims are buried in softwood coffins – not dissimilar from Jews, who are also buried in coffins, but with a hole in the bottom in order for there to be direct contact with the earth.

Northern League denies grave to a newborn Muslim girl

A Muslim newborn girl has died at the hospital of Udine. Her parents decided to bury their daughter in the cemetery of Paderno (a village in the province of Udine); where one year earlier the Muslim community obtained from the municipality a specific area in the local cemetery. The community, in fact, was unable to afford the repatriation of their deceased. At which time a huge fight ensued between the mayors of Paderno (center left wing party) supporting the Muslim community’s request, and the Northern League and the priest of the village rejecting it. After the recent burial, the protests by the Northern League have flared up again, with public manifestations and the collection of signatures. Even the spokesman of the national center-right coalition (PDL), claimes that the episode represents an offense of the Catholic traditions.