Home / Proper Burial for Osama: Cremation

Proper Burial for Osama: Cremation

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We have all heard the news by now. Osama bin Laden is dead, his body taken and buried at sea by the USA.

There is a lot of talk on the news today about how everything was done to make sure that Osama’s body was given a proper Islamic burial, even if at sea. I understand that this was done because we are currently led by an administration that, right or wrong, is very concerned with doing things in way that will not offend Muslims domestically and internationally. And no doubt not affording Osama’s body some amount of respect would have upset some Muslims. But which ones? The ones we have affirmed as “valid” or those we say are a terrible distortion of their supposed religion?Osama Deceased

I do not understand what was done in this case. For years, our administration and many others in our country have been making the case that Osama and those who share his ideology are not proper Muslims. “This is not Islam,” they say. So why did we give him a proper Muslim burial? That is oxymoronic and I would argue that I could have left off the “oxy.” Why sanctify his body when we have said with one voice that his ways are evil, even in the eyes of proper Muslims?

I would have suggested cremation. In many cultures, including Islamic ones, cremation is a witness that the person burned does not deserve a proper burial, that they have not followed the religion of the culture. If this is the narrative we have been preaching for years and years, that Osama is not what Islam is, then why did the the final chapter in that story stand in contradiction to the entire plot?

Surely moderate Muslims could have testified that such an action would have been more appropriate. It would have been an ultimate testimony to their understanding of their religion. Let them stand up now and say, this man was not a proper Muslim and should not by any means have received a proper Muslim burial. The white sheet wrapped around him was not fitting.

No one would think that Hitler should have received a proper Christian burial even though at times he claimed to be a Christian. Why is this different?

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  • ro

    B/c we don’t need to be seen as monsters?

  • And so instead, we let the monster look like a good man?

  • LynnfromBC

    No Pastor Hoppe. With all due respect the proper burial of any body in Islam is also so the living can rest assured that they have not disrespected the creation of God. While the soul is believed to be gone, the body is still believed to feel pain after death and further desecration of it is disrespectful to the creator, not the soul of the person who used that body.

    Those officiating are only committing what they need to commit in order to stay on the right side of God, because the people who perform desecration of a dead body also, according to Islamic law, will pay a price for it.

    This is why the US had muslims conduct the service and interment at sea. They took the responsibility so Americans would not have to suffer any consequences of having it done against their laws. This burial was for the living, not so much for the dead. I would say it’s more an act of grace to the living than anything else. Just because Bin Laden was vengeful doesn’t mean everyone else is.

  • zingzing

    unless you want them to put his body on public display for everyone to gawk over and spit on, i don’t see what the problem is. did you want to search the body for clues? what do you want?

    islamic law states that all burials must happen in a certain way and within a certain amount of time. if you really want to disrespect a man’s corpse, you go ahead and do so, but i have no idea why you’d want to do that… no matter what he did, he’s still a human being, and because of that he deserves at least a modicum of our humanity. this hatred you display is rather troubling. maybe you should learn something from his hatred and disregard for human life.

  • thomas

    They should have fed his body to pigs. Then killed the pigs, and fed them to other pigs.

    He deserved no less.

  • matt

    are you really that stupid?? you are the reason that people have a bad opinion of america. you should be ashamed of yourself and i hope that if you want buried a certain way that someone not only cremates you but takes your ashes and pisses on them!! That is suppose to be what seperates america from the so called “wrong” govts. You need your head checked

  • Lynn – Where do you get your information? I do read that even the worst muslims are to be given proper burial. But I would still argue that the case has been made that he is not a bad muslim, but not a muslim at all.

    Matt: My main point is that we treated Osama in life in America as a non-muslim and treated him in death as a muslim. And, I have had my head checked. It is fine.

  • LynnfromBC

    Pastor Hoppe, I have many resources and here is one on cremation

    or for more teachings.

    Whether Bin Laden was considered a muslim or not has obviously been left up to those who committed his remains to the sea.

    To say he represents what Islam is, or that any single person does, can not be more of an afront to the prophet, who is considered the perfect representation of Islam.

    Islam is about submission, not abrogation, to God, hence, muslim or not, his creations must be respected and not burned by fire.

    It is quite a different view point than what many would consider.

  • Reason

    Funny Matt, how you call someone stupid for wanting to desecrate someone’s remains, yet in the very next sentence you go on to state your desire for his remains to be desecrated. Why don’t you calm down a bit, compose yourself, & use just a pinch of logic before ranting and calling people names for no good reason other than you disagree with them. Or are you really that stupid?

  • John W.

    It seems like we offend hard-core Muslims just by existing. Appeasement really doesn’t accomplish much.

  • John Starks

    was Osama bin laden adhering to islamic laws when he made hundreds of innocent people (including muslims) burn alive?

  • kodimirpal

    The news about the death of Osama bin Laden is much less important than the popular uprisings happening in the Arab world.

    It is not immensely relevant considering the huge revolution in the Arab world that was probably kindled by Osama’s ideology.

    If the Arab masses think that a big “terrorist” contributed massively to Arab democracy, then Obama has achieved something, the wrong way or right way, is for historians to judge, the same way Omar Mokthar was judged by Italian historians. But the Arab streets seem to say thank you to Bin Laden for the spark that he threw at them

    There has been big changes through out the world since 9/11. Bin Laden always wanted to get rid of Mubarek and Ben Ali and Gaddafi and so on claiming that they were all “infidels” working for America.

    We have to remember that these oppressive regimes have always been telling the Americans to keep on supporting them because they kept telling, if you don’t Al Qaeda will take over . Did Al Qaeda take over Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Syria, Algeria, Morocco, Jordan and so on? What and who helped them to take over is going to be an interesting part of future historians’ research.

    Celebrations in the United States over Bin Laden’s death are meaningless compared to the celebrations of the Arab masses on the successful people’s revolutions partly fuelled by the lunatic fringe called Al-Qaeda.

    If we had killed Bin Laden a year or two after 9/11 the celebrations that are going on in the United States might have been more relevant.

  • kait

    I am just glad he is dead. We don’t even know if he was given the proper burial they say he was. They might just be saying this to keep the peace. I don’t think he should have gotten a proper burial either. He is an evil person. I hate cowards who commit horrible offenses against other humans and hide behind religion.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Why not cremate OBL? For the same reason it was a grave mistake for Bush to order torture of prisoners: because such are used as recruiting tools for more terrorists, and more Americans die as a result. It is as LynnfromBC said – this is more for the sake of the living than for the dignity of the dead.

    That said, remember that in WWII, even kamikaze pilots who had brought death and destruction to American ships were given burials at sea. There is EVERY reason to take the high road, to keep our conduct even towards our enemies on a professional level – which is why our interrogators were so successful in WWII (and the surviving WWII interrogators were strongly opposed Bush’s torture tactics).

    Not only that, but it’s also American tradition. Back in the early 1800’s when our seamen were being kidnapped and held by Muslims in North Africa, we sent a flotilla to rescue them…and they were amazed to see that we would even treat their wounded after a battle. Thus the old quote: “The Americans are fierce as lions in battle, but afterwards, as kind as musselmen”. ‘Musselmen’, at the time, referred to doctors.

  • Jarl Greger

    In the words of the great Mark Twain.
    “I never have wished a person dead…But I have read many obituaries with great pleasure”

  • Someone

    (Philip Hoppe:
    Matt: My main point is that we treated Osama in life in America as a non-muslim and treated him in death as a muslim. And, I have had my head checked. It is fine.)

    Mr Hope blame the media maybe osama was a good muslim who knows or maybe he wasnt, but then again who are we to judge and lastly most of us here only knew the guy from our television screen, none of you really knew the guy personally. and Ask your self the question is everything you see on TV true? mmmm