Imam of Hagia Sophia Mosque on Sri Lanka forced cremations of Covid dead


What is happening in Sri Lanka today is cause for extreme concern.

The government in Colombo has passed a law, which stipulates that those who die with Covid, must not be buried, but be cremated.

Noting that this policy of “forced cremations” has no basis in science and is a violation of one’s basic human right. The right of the deceased to be buried on religious grounds needs to be respected. This policy has caused unimaginable pain and anguish to the families of the deceased belonging mainly to minority Sri Lankan Muslims as well as Christians.

We call on the Sri Lankan authorities to reverse this unjust policy with immediate effect. We would like to see people live in harmony with one another. Enforced cremations only add to anguish, fear and this can potentially lead to conflict.

There is an extra cause for concern, as this constitutes another step which the government has taken to demean and undermine the Sri Lankan Muslim community. We must caution against the targeting of Sri Lanka’s Muslims, and indeed any other minority community, for the dire implications that this will have on Sri Lanka and far beyond.

Imam Dr Mehmet Boynukalin
Chief Imam
Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque
Istanbul, Turkey