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#Maldives at crossroads over #SriLanka Muslim COVID19 victims burial proposal

Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom has voiced his opposition towards the burial of Muslim COVID-19 victims from Sri Lanka in the Maldives. 

Maldivian Foreign Ministry had stated yesterday that the Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had sent a letter to Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih requesting for assistance in the burial of Muslims who passed away due to the virus in the nation.

President Gotabaya had noted that Sri Lanka was facing difficulties in burying the victims of COVID-19 in accordance with Islamic custom and laws. 

President Solih is now in discussions with state institutions over how the Maldives can assist neighboring Sri Lanka and the Muslim brothers of the nation. The President was also working mindfully of the age-old close relationship the Maldives has with Sri Lanka in this regard.

Maumoon in a tweet yesterday, said that he cannot support bringing the bodies of foreign COVID-19 victims to be buried in the Maldives.

Maumoon also stated that the Maldives was always welcome to foreign visitors. 

The Daily Mirror of Sri Lanka first reported that the Maldives had offered to bury the victims of the virus. It quoted the Sri Lankan Deputy Director-General of Public Health Dr. Hemantha Herath who said that the Maldivian Foreign Ministry had offered to bury the deceased Muslims of Sri Lanka.

The Sri Lankan government has maintained the policy that the bodies of those who pass away from the virus will have to be cremated, not buried, which goes against Islamic customs. The issue has caused discontent among the Muslim community of Sri Lanka and even seen protests.

Clarification

Former President of the Maldives Maumoon Abdul Gayoom has clarified his stand over his objections against burying Sri Lankan Muslim COVID-19 victims in the Maldives due to the mandatory cremation policy of Sri Lanka.

Maumoon said today that the government was not obligated under the religion to bury the victims of COVID-19 from Sri Lanka. 

Maumoon is on the opposing side of many religious scholars in the Maldives are expressing support for the burial of Sri Lankan Muslim victims of COVID-19 in the Maldives. 

The Sri Lankan government policy mandates that the bodies of those who pass away from the virus are to be cremated, not buried, which goes against Islamic customs. The issue has caused discontent among the Muslim community of Sri Lanka and even seen protests. Sri Lanka then requested the assistance of the Maldives in the matter to which the government of Maldives responded positively and are currently working to make arrangements. 

Maumoon tweeted last night disapproving the move. He stated that he could not support the burial of Sri Lankan Muslim victims who fall to the virus in the Maldives.

Maumoon defended his stand again today by saying that the government was not obligated to do so and by making arrangements to do so, would be to support the mistreatment of Muslims by the Sri Lankan government. 

The issue has also caused division among the public in the Maldives.

His daughter Dunya Maumoon also tweeted her disapproval over the proposal.

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