Burial at sea was the best option: White House
WASHINGTON (PAN): Burial at sea was the best option available for dealing with Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden's body, the White House said on Monday. The funeral was carried out strictly in accordance with Islamic practices.
"The burial of bin Laden's remains was done in strict conformity with Islamic precepts and practices. It was prepared in accordance with the Islamic requirements. We early on made provisions for that type of burial," an official said.
Deputy National Security Advisor for Counterterrorism and Homeland Security John Brennan told reporters at a White House news conference: "So it was taken care of in the appropriate way. I'm not going to go into details, but that burial took place earlier today, our time.”
Earlier, a senior defence official said the religious rites were conducted for the deceased on the deck of the USS Carl Vinson, which is located in the North Arabian Sea. "Preparations for at-sea burial began at 1:10am Eastern Standard Time, and were completed at 2:00am."
The deceased's body was washed and then placed in a white sheet and in a weighted bag; a military officer read prepared religious remarks. After the words were complete, the body was placed on a prepared flat board, tipped up, whereupon the body eased into the sea,” the official said.
Brennan said it was decided much in advance that it was in the best interests of all involved that this burial take place according to Islamic practices. "It was determined that there is requirement in Islamic law that an individual be buried within 24 hours."
A senior defence official said the justification for burial at sea was when there was no land alternative. "According to Islamic teachings and practice, the deceased must be buried with proper procedures within 24 hours. That was the basis for that decision."
There was no available alternative in terms of a country that was willing to accept the body, and Americans took pains to ensure that they were compliant with Muslim tradition and law," the official said.
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