Society

British Imams: We Will Not Bury London Attackers

| by Lauren Briggs

More than 130 British imams and other Muslim leaders in the U.K. have refused to provide a traditional Islamic burial to the three attackers who killed at least seven people on June 3 in London.

"In light of other such ethical principles which are quintessential to Islam, we will not perform the traditional Islamic funeral prayer over the perpetrators and we also urge fellow imams and religious authorities to withdraw such a privilege," the Muslim leaders said in a June 5 group statement posted by Imam Abdullah Hasan on Facebook. "This is because such indefensible actions are completely at odds with the lofty teachings of Islam."

On the evening of the attacks, three men plowed a van into a crowd of pedestrians on London Bridge before jumping out of the vehicle and stabbing people in adjacent bars and restaurants before police shot and killed them, reports CNN. At least 48 people were injured.

"We, as Muslim Imams and religious leaders, condemn the recent terror attacks in Manchester and London in the strongest terms possible," read the imams' statements, in reference to a suicide bombing at an Ariana Grande concert that killed a number of young people and children. "Coming from a range of backgrounds, and from across the U.K.; feeling the pain the rest of the nation feels, we have come together to express our shock and utter disgust at these cold-blooded murders."

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In London, the attackers wore fake suicide bomb belts -- in an effort to make sure that they would be killed, officials said, according to CNN. Amaq Agency, a group connected to ISIS, called them a "detachment of Islamic State fighters," though, as with many attacks that ISIS has taken credit for, there is no evidence linking the three men to either agency.

"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," said the Muslim leaders. "We seek to clarify that their reprehensible actions have neither legitimacy nor our sympathy."

Two of the three men -- 27-year-old Pakistan-born Khuram Butt and 30-year-old Moroccan-Libyan Rachid Redouane -- have been identified by police, notes BBC. At least 12 people were arrested in connection to the attack, but have been released without charges.

"These vile murderers seek to divide our society and [instill] fear; we will ensure they fail," the group of imams declared in the statement. "We implore everyone to unite: we are one community. In the face of such dastardly cowardice, unlike the terrorists, we must uphold love and compassion."

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Sources: CNN (2), Imam Abdullah Hasan/Facebook, BBC / Photo Credit: Shoaibaliraza/Wikimedia Commons

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