Imams re­ject rites for Lon­don killers

‘They are not mar­tyrs ... and they are not fol­low­ing a path to par­adise,’ one says.

Los Angeles Times - - THE WORLD - By Christina Boyle Boyle is a spe­cial cor­re­spon­dent.

LON­DON — More than 100 Mus­lim lead­ers across Bri­tain have joined forces to de­nounce the ac­tions of the three Lon­don Bridge at­tack­ers by declar­ing that they will refuse to per­form fu­neral prayers for them.

In an un­prece­dented show of sol­i­dar­ity and out­rage at the lat­est ter­ror­ist in­ci­dent to hit Bri­tain, imams across the coun­try are also urg­ing other Mus­lim lead­ers to fol­low their ex­am­ple.

“We have al­ways con­demned all th­ese type of atroc­i­ties, but we needed to send a strong mes­sage to th­ese killers that what they have done is to­tally against the teach­ings of Is­lam,” said the head of chap­laincy at Barts Health NHS Trust in Lon­don, Sheik Yunus Dud­hwala, one of the 130 imams who signed the state­ment.

There have pre­vi­ously been calls for the Mus­lim com­mu­nity in Bri­tain to take tougher vis­i­ble ac­tion against the per­pe­tra­tors of ter­ror­ist acts, be­yond just ver­bally con­demn­ing them. In 2015, then-Prime Min­is­ter David Cameron also an­gered the Mus­lim com­mu­nity by say­ing that it had to do more to tackle ex­trem­ism and that it was time for the “silent ma­jor­ity” to stand up.

Mus­lims said at the time that Cameron was wrong to link a lack of so­cial co­he­sion with ex­trem­ism and ter­ror­ism, and they be­lieved that they were be­ing forced to con­stantly apol­o­gize for each ter­ror­ist at­tack car­ried out in their re­li­gion’s name.

But the fre­quency of the re­cent at­tacks in Bri­tain by home­grown ex­trem­ists has spurred the com­mu­nity into tak­ing a more co­he­sive, strong stance against the ac­tions of the ter­ror­ists, Dud­hwala said.

The group said that deny­ing a fu­neral prayer was one of the strong­est mes­sages its mem­bers are able to send to the wider Mus­lim com­mu­nity, be­cause the prayer is the fi­nal moment the com­mu­nity of­fers ac­cep­tance to the de­ceased for the sins they may have com­mit­ted.

“We are say­ing they are not mar­tyrs, they are crim­i­nals, and they are not fol­low­ing a path to par­adise,” Qari Asim, an imam in the city of Leeds said.

Sheik Asim Yusuf, an imam in Wolver­hamp­ton, added, “We hope it will give peo­ple pause.”

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