Although there appears to be some room for debate over the burial — as with many issues within the faith — a wide range of Islamic scholars interpreted it as a humiliating disregard for the standard Muslim practice of placing the body in a grave with the head pointed toward the holy city of Mecca…
“They can say they buried him at sea, but they cannot say they did it according to Islam,” Mohammed al-Qubaisi, Dubai’s grand mufti, said about bin Laden’s burial. “If the family does not want him, it’s really simple in Islam: You dig up a grave anywhere, even on a remote island, you say the prayers and that’s it.”
“Sea burials are permissible for Muslims in extraordinary circumstances,” he added. “This is not one of them.”
But Mohammed Qudah, a professor of Islamic law at the University of Jordan, said burying the Saudi-born bin Laden at sea was not forbidden if there was nobody to receive the body and provide a Muslim burial.
A prominent Iraqi cleric in Baghdad called it “almost a crime,” and the grand imam of Al-Azhar in Cairo — the most prominent Sunni center of Islamic scholarship in the world — said it “contradicts all the religious values and human norms.” It takes a special type of self-entitled cretin to complain about a red-fisted degenerate like Osama being given a dignified burial that’s not quite dignified enough, but no opportunity for grievance shall pass untaken. Especially not one as high-profile as this.
Here’s what allegedly “contradicts all the … human norms”:
Military forces transferred the body to the American aircraft carrier Carl Vinson, in the North Arabian Sea, a senior defense official said. Shortly after 1 a.m. Eastern daylight time, the body was washed in accordance with Islamic custom, placed in a white sheet, then put inside a weighted bag.
A military officer read prepared religious remarks, which were translated into Arabic by a “native speaker,” the official said. The body was placed on a board, tipped up and then “eased into the sea,” the official said.
The official did not name the native speaker or say whether he was a Muslim cleric.
I completely understand why people are angry about this. The end I always fantasized for him was being thrown off the Empire State Building so he’d enjoy a few precious seconds of what the jumpers on 9/11 had to endure. Then Sanitation could scrape him off the pavement and be on their way. But look: His star was already dying in the region. He’d been an afterthought for years. As much fun as it’d be to have his head on a pike, the smart play is to keep him an afterthought as much as possible by gritting one’s teeth, checking the box of religious niceties, and quickly and quietly rolling him off the side of the carrier. Some clerics will still affect outrageous outrage — that’s what they do, after all — but most people won’t care and will understand that the sea burial is designed to deny his worshipers a shrine. And the ones who do care and are bent on revenge? Well, that’s what SEALs are for.
Here’s Lindsey Graham wondering why we have to bend over backwards to be civil to Bin Laden’s putrefying remains. Exit question: Are Birthers on the way out and Deathers on the way in? I hope they start circulating photos of the body, because that hurried burial at sea already has noted kooks already coming out of the woodwork.
Update: Incredibly foolish. Borderline insane.
Video of Osama bin Laden’s dead body being dropped into the North Arabian Sea from the USS Carl Vinson early this morning will be made public, according to officials.
The 40-minute ceremony, and perhaps photos of his corpse, will be released “cautiously,” according to The Associated Press, citing two Pentagon officials.
If the point is to get rid of the body as semi-respectfully as possible and return Bin Laden to afterthought status, why would you circulate a video of the burial that guarantees the scene will live forever? Plus, you’re bound to make some group angry. If the clip shows U.S. sailors behaving solemnly, it’ll irritate Americans that they were forced to give this monster a dignified end. If the clip shows them laughing and high-fiving (presumably it doesn’t or else the vid wouldn’t be released), then you’ll create exactly the sort of backlash in the Middle East that the sea burial was designed to avoid.