December 1, 2008

Muslim graveyard refuses to bury terrorists in Mumbai

( AFP/Getty Images)

Azam Amir Kasab, 21, the only Mumbai gunman captured alive

Nico Hines, and Rhys Blakely in Mumbai 
A Muslim graveyard in the heart of Mumbai has broken with Islamic tradition and 
refused to bury the bodies of nine terrorists who were killed during the attack 
on India's financial capital. 

The influential Muslim Jama Masjid Trust, which runs the 7.5-acre Badakabrastan 
graveyard, said it would not bury the gunmen because they were not true 
followers of Islam. 

Hanif Nalkhande, a spokesman for the trust, said: "People who committed this 
heinous crime cannot be called Muslim. Islam does not permit this sort of 
barbaric crime." 

At least ten gunmen killed nearly 200 people in a series of coordinated attacks 
that began on Wednesday evening and swept south Mumbai. The strikes targeted 
two luxury hotels, the city's main train station, a hospital and a Jewish 

During the attacks one militant said that the gunmen had been sent to avenge 
the abuses committed against Muslims in Indian-controlled Kashmir. 

Over three days, the Indian security forces killed nine terrorists and captured 
a tenth. The bodies of the nine dead gunmen now lie in a morgue awaiting last 
rites. The sole surviving militant - Azam Amir Kasab, 21, a Pakistani national 
- is being questioned by police. 

According to leaked details of the interrogation, he said that he and his 
fellow the terrorists were indoctrinated by being shown images of "atrocities 
on Muslims in India". 

Unclaimed bodies thought to be Muslim are traditionally given to the nearest 
Islamic graveyard for burial after three days but that now looks impossible in 

There are seven other Muslim graveyards in Mumbai, but the Jama Masjid's 
influence means none of the others are likely to accept the bodies. 

India has a history of bloody clashes between its minority Muslim community and 
Hindus, who account for aabout 80 per cent of the population. Police are now 
unsure what to do with the bodies, as officers do not believe anyone will claim 
the gunmen's corpses. 

Jain Sirmukadam, a senior police inspector, said: "The gunmen must be buried 
because we are bound to see that their last rites are performed according to 
the religion they follow. We have heard the trust's decision. We are 
considering what to do now." 

Mr Nalkhande from the trust said that several Islamic scholars had backed the 
body's decision. 

However, one Islamic scholar, Maulauna Zubair Ahmed, said that even terrorists 
must be given a proper burial under Sharia - or Islamic - law. "As per the 
Sharia, the trust cannot say no," he said. "The Sharia says whether a Muslim is 
a drunkard, rapist, criminal, you must offer him a place for burial." 


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