More than 130 imams refuse to perform Islamic burials for Manchester and London attackers

Members of the Dawoodi Bohra Muslim community (in white) joining others as they bow their heads during a vigil at Potters Fields Park in London, on June 5, 2017.
Members of the Dawoodi Bohra Muslim community (in white) joining others as they bow their heads during a vigil at Potters Fields Park in London, on June 5, 2017.PHOTO: AFP

LONDON - More than 130 imams and Muslim religious leaders from Britain and other Western countries have said they will refuse to perform Islamic funeral prayers for the terrorists of the Manchester and London attacks and called on other imams to do the same.

The Muslim leaders made the statement in a post on social media on Monday (June 5), where they condemned the two recent attacks "in the strongest terms possible".

"We will not perform the traditional Islamic funeral prayer for the perpetrators and we also urge fellow imams and religious authorities to withdraw such a privilege. This is because such indefensible actions are completely at odds with the lofty teachings of Islam," said the statement.

According to the statement, posted by Imam Abdullah Hasan of Imams Against Domestic Abuse on Facebook, the funeral rite "is normally performed for every Muslim regardless of their actions."

While most of the imams on the list were from Britain, several imams from Australia and the United States also backed the move.

The statement described the move as "unprecedented", although a CNN report on the statement said mosques in Britain's Manchester and the US have previously refused to bury Muslims involved in past terror attacks.

The secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, which is affiliated with hundreds of mosques, had hinted at taking such a move a day earlier.

"We are deeply hurt that a spate of terror attacks have been committed in our country once more by murderers who seek to gain religious legitimacy for their actions. We seek to clarify that their reprehensible actions have neither legitimacy nor our sympathy," the statement added.

"Though at no time is it acceptable, that such ruthless violence was perpetrated during the season of Ramadan, in which Muslims worldwide focus on pious devotion, prayer, charity and the cultivation of good character, demonstrates how utterly misguided and distant the terrorists are from our faith and the contempt which they hold for its values," it added.

In the London attack on Saturday, three men rammed a van into pedestrians on London Bridge before going on a stabbing rampage at the Borough Market area. Seven people were killed and dozens wounded. All three attackers were shot dead by police.

Twenty-two people were killed and many wounded when a suicide bomber attacked a concert in Manchester on May 22. Many of the dead were children.