The Islamic burial ground in Brøndby cemetery. Photo: Erik Hoy/Flickr
Kasem Said Ahmad, deputy chairman of the Danish Islamic Burial Foundation, offered to bury Adel Kermiche, one of two Islamic extremists who slit the throat Jacques Hamel,an 85-year-old Catholic priest, in an attack on a church in Normandy on July 26.
“If we got a request from the family to bury him, then we would do it, we would not say no,” Ahmad told Jyllands-Posten.
“It is shameful and un-Islamic that the French imams are refusing to bury a Muslim. One should not look at the past of the dead. It is a human right to be buried, no matter what you have done.”
Ahmad’s offer came after French imam Mohammed Karabila refused to bury Kermiche, declaring that he did “not want to besmirch Islam with this person”
“We will not help either to prepare the body or with the funeral itself,” Karabila said.
On Thursday morning, Bashir Ahmad Nazmi, the foundation’s chairman immediately denied the offer in an email to Danish news agency Ritzau, saying that the Muslim burial ground outside Copenhagen is “for Muslims in Denmark”, and stressing that the fund has neither offered to bury Kermiche, nor been approached by his family.
Figures from the Danish Islamic community condemned Ahmad’s inflammatory statement.
“I think in this case it is entirely appropriate to refuse him a burial,” Khaterah Parwani wrote, arguing that if a person acts in a way which breaks all the rules of Islamic behaviour, it was right to exclude them.
Trine Bramsen, spokesperson for the Social Democrats, called the statement “totally absurd”, arguing that it appeared to “endorse acts of terrorism”.
“Denmark must under no circumstances be the burial ground for terrorists,” she said. “When you offer burial ground for terrorists from abroad, it is in my eyes the same as sympathising with these people and thus supporting the terror. If they can not see that, I think they have a problem.”