22 January, 2021

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A Peaceful Car Protest In Australia Against The Forced Cremation Of Covid-19 Victims In Sri Lanka

By Amaani Siddeek –

Sri Lankan Muslims in Sydney gathered as a motorcade to protest against the ‘cremation-only’ policy being implemented in Sri Lanka – a policy that has been identified as discriminatory and a human rights violation.

The policy, which was implemented in April of 2020, has received global backlash for its forceful cremation of COVID-19 fatalities with reports of some cremations being done without the consent of the family, sparking protests in countries across the world.

The motorcade headed by the Austra-Lanka Muslim Association (ALMA) made its way around Western Sydney towards Sydney CBD on Sunday, 10 January 2021, bearing posters that called out the Sri Lankan Government saying that the “Sri Lankan Government is denying the burial rights of Christians and Muslims.”

ALMA President, Ubaidur Rahmaan Mahmood said, “Cremation has left the minority communities – especially the Christian and Muslim communities – feeling helpless.”

The Sri Lankan Government continues to cite “ground water contamination” as its primary reason for implementing a ‘cremation-only’ mandate for all COVID-19 fatalities. The claim has since been debunked by epidemiologists and virologists across the world.

The World Health Organization clearly identified that burial of coronavirus fatalities is safe and that burial rights may be permitted if adapted for COVID-19 safety regulations.

Nearly 10 months into the pandemic and with numerous petitions, protests and global outcry, Sri

Lanka remains one of only two countries in the world that continues to implement the policy. “This has nothing to do with science,” Mr Mahmood said.

“Many opposition politicians [in Sri Lanka] have pointed out that the hardline policy of the government is nothing but to hurt the feelings and religious practices of the Muslims.”

As the car parade made its way throughout Sydney, protesters expressed the need for proactive global intervention.

“It’s absolutely devastating,” one protester, Mohamed Fazli, said, “we believe burning is a punishment that only God has the right to do.”

For many Muslims in Sri Lanka and around the world, burial of the deceased is one of many sacred rights that must be upheld by those who are alive.

But under the stringent policy, the extensive burial rites dedicated to the deceased are unable to be carried out, leaving the surviving families distraught from the loss and from the inability to hon- our them properly.

“It is our responsibility to bury the dead,” said Mr Fazli. “We have failed them.”

Burial rites are not just present in Islam but are also upheld by many Christians, Jews and through- out other cultures as well, prompting many communities to rally together against the human rights violation.

In early December 2020, protests held in the UK saw Muslims, Christians and Catholics unite in solidarity against the policy.

“We at South Asia Solidarity Group, stand in solidarity with the Muslims, Christian and Catholic communities of Sri Lanka who are at present facing the thoroughly inhumane and arbitrary policy laid down by the Sri Lankan government,” said protest organizer Baazir Rahman.

“Mourning and grieving for their loved ones has become a fraught political issue, provoking great pain and anger amongst the Muslims and Christians.”

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Latest comments

  • 11
    26

    Funny two car parade.

    • 19
      8

      Sometimes pictures just don’t do justice, do they?. There was well over 70 vehicles participated in this parade and this was only limited by the Covid safety requirements.

  • 11
    12

    Here is an opportunity for the Muslims to show their grattitude to us.
    How many Muslim dead bodies have been cremated so far?
    How many Muslim Covid patients have been treated, cured and sent home so far?
    What percentage of Covid patients are Muslims?
    What percentage of health care workers are Muslims?

    Soma
    ( I am strongly in favour of permitting the Muslims to bury their dead)

    • 6
      1

      “Here is an opportunity for the Muslims to show their grattitude to us.”

      Who is us?? Aren’t Muslims part of Sri Lanka like the Sinhalese?

  • 25
    6

    Congratulations to Nandasena and Percy, they have, yet again, been successful in bringing negative world attention to Sri Lanka, by their display of discrimination and desire to appease the racist Buddhist clergy.
    Do they think that this will be good for our image and tourism, which we desperately need to survive? Not very smart Rajapaksa’s. Bad bad move.

    • 4
      9

      Ashan
      Why you guys are so ungrateful?
      How many Muslim Covid patients have been treated, cured and sent home so far?

  • 3
    13

    Protest by car in Auz why don’t you do it in Cmb with Namal with night racing,
    Do it in proper manner don’t pollute the air by burning the fuel is it cars parade

  • 21
    6

    Well done. My full support to you’ll.
    .
    I only wish the christian leadership also spoke with passion and vigour as the Tamil and Muslim MPs have done (such praise is only reserved for the MPs who stood against racist policy of ‘forced cremation’ and not those who gave the vote for these extremist sinhala buddhist to do as they like.
    .
    This inhumane policy of forced cremation has to be ended and every major foreign government should should set out to individually punish these extremist sinhala buddhists by sanctioning them and freezing their foreign account with the money they’ve stolen from this country. Don’t expect justice from this country or the corrupt courts system here. The punishment should come from foreign governments.

  • 20
    3

    Nandasena is a textbook case of how to promote the image of your country on the international stage. He has taken lessons from Weerawansa, Gandhasara and Ampitiye Sumanarathana. A particular video of Sumanarathana had a profound impact on him. It has become his favourite daily inspiration resource:
    .
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQB3HHTJA5I

  • 2
    0

    I have always been a fan of reality by majority vote Cremation and burial the world has the majority vote for burial & cremation vote not only cremation protest Say what you want but you NEVER say it with violence, Loyalty means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official, since world majority vote is for dual burial system cremation & burial. Our political leaders will know our priorities rights awareness only if we tell them, again and again

  • 6
    0

    The Committee that was appointed recently headed by Prof: Jennifer Perera of the Faculty of Medicine Colombo had submitted its report to Govt: recommending Burial with certain conditions. The conditions are reasonable and it addresses the issue of ground water etc. Why is the Govt: dragging its feet on the issue.?

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