Sea burial of bin Laden violates sharia law, say Muslim scholars

Sea burial of Osama bin Laden breaks sharia law, say Muslim scholars
US decision to dispose of body in the sea prevents grave site becoming a shrine but clerics warn it may lead to reprisals
Ian Black and Brian Whitaker
The Guardian, Mon 2 May 2011 19.36 BST

Osama bin Laden’s burial at sea was quickly criticised by Muslim scholars who claimed it had breached sharia law and warned that it may provoke calls for revenge attacks against US targets.

Others used the sea burial question to question whether he was dead at all, with doubts fuelled by the absence of authentic photographs of his corpse.

US officials said tests using DNA from several of Bin Laden’s family members had provided “virtual certainty” that it was his body. A woman believed to be one of Bin Laden’s wives identified the al-Qaida leader, and he was visually identified by members of the US raiding party, the Pentagon said. Burying him on land could have led to his grave becoming a focus of contention and pilgrimage as well as posing tough questions about where he should be laid to rest.

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