PARIS – Religious leaders of the Muslim community in Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray refused on Saturday to bury Adel Kermiche, one of the two teenage attackers who killed an elderly priest in a church last Tuesday, saying they do not want to “taint” Islam by having any connection to him.
“We’re not going to taint Islam with this person,” Mohammed Karabila, president of the local Muslim cultural association and imam at a local mosque, told French newspaper Le Parisien, The Independent reported on Sunday, July 31.
“We won’t participate in preparing the body or the burial.”
The announcement followed what the French Council for the Muslim Religion (CFCM) dubbed as the “cowardly assassination” of Father Jacques Hamel on Tuesday by two militants affiliated to the so-called Islamic State (ISIL).
The 19-year-old Kermiche, along with Abdel Malik Petitjean, also 19, took six people hostage at a church in Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray before killing Father Hamel.
Both Kermiche and Petitjean, who were under police surveillance before carrying the attack, were later shot dead by police.
Muslim leaders came out shortly after the horrendous attacks to condemn them.
Dalil Boubakeur, rector of the Grand Mosque in Paris, said the attack was a “blasphemous sacrilege which goes against all the teachings of our religion.”
The Union of Islamic Organizations of France (UOIF) has also condemned the shocking attack, expressing its full support to all the Christian communities in France.
Muslims in Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray, near Rouen in Normandy, supported the decision, Sky News reports.
“What this young man did is sinful; he is no longer part of our community,” Khalid El Amrani, a 25-year-old technician, said.
The mayor’s office will ultimately decide whether or not Kermiche will be buried in the town.
Islam calls for respecting human beings whether alive or dead.
A Muslim’s dead body should be immediately taken to a mortuary for washing and preparation.
Two or three adult Muslims should wash the body and then put on the shroud (kafan). Before the burial, the funeral prayer should be done.
The burial should be done as soon as possible. It is makruh (reprehensible) to delay the burial of the dead.
France is home to a Muslim community of nearly six million, the largest in Europe.