The Ministry of Health says that the Islamic burial rites are not compatible with the current regional mortuary law and European regulations. This has been communicated to the City after requesting this information on a previous request of information of the Embassy of United Arab Emirates. The Government’s response comes after the intention of the mayor, Manuela Carmena, to reserve 10,000 square meters of Carabanchel Cemetery for Muslims. According to the Madrilenian mortuary law, bodies can not be buried in contact with the earth, as the Muslims ask.
The Community responded on Thursday to the City Council by issuing the rules that apply in the region, which are Decree 124/1997 on Community Health of Madrid, Law 8 June 1957 Civil Registry and the Strasbourg Agreement on transfer Of 1992 corpses.
The answer comes after the request of information of the past 18 of February of the City council. The Embassy of the United Arab Emirates had addressed them with a document explaining the Islamic funeral rites. The mayor then asked the regional government if they were compatible with the current legislation
The text of the embassy was written by Jose Luis Llaquet, professor of the University Loyola Andalucía (Seville). It reveals the mortuary pretensions of the Muslims becoming a mortician. Llaquet says that when legislation does not meet his funeral expectations “there is frustration, which can be accepted peacefully or in a conflictive way” and adds that between 90% and 95% of Muslims choose to repatriate their corpse, among other things , For the lack of a regulation in accordance with their expectations.
The rites that Islam considers essential in burials are the shrouding of the body with a thin cotton cloth, usually white, burial of the corpse without a coffin in a pit in contact with the earth, laying it towards the right side, and with the chest And face facing Mecca.
Llaquet argues that Islamic praxis rejects “compulsory practices in the West”, such as the waiting time before burial, which Spanish law marks 24 hours after death. However, the Mohammedans argue that for them must be before, unless forbidden reasons of force majeure. Nor do they accept the incineration of corpses, burial along with deceased of other beliefs, burial in niches, the erection of monumental tombs, autopsies of corpses or the use of coffins.
The author recalls that the most conflictive point, burial without a coffin, is forbidden in the region. In fact, Article 9 of the Regulations of the Mortuary Sanitary Police of 1974 prohibits “the conduct, transfer and burial of corpses without the corresponding coffin (…)”.
However, many Muslims, adds the expert, “do not obstruct the provisions of Article 9.” A large part accepts that the body is buried in a coffin filled with dirt, although, adds the author, “companies in the sector usually opt for another formula of better acceptance, which consists of elaborating the lower part of the coffin, which will be in contact with The head, with a flimsy material that breaks at the moment of burying the corpse, causing the head to be effectively in contact with the earth, although said solution does not guarantee the isolation of the remains inside the coffin.
The specialist mentions two exceptions to the norm, the Andalusian and the Valencian. In Andalusia in 2007 the decision was taken to exempt the use of casket if requested for reasons of confessionality. In the Valencian Community, in 2005, burials were allowed directly on the ground if liquids were left outside and a hydrogeological study of the area was carried out. In this regard, the Community of Madrid states in its response Article 13 of Decree 124/1997 which specifies that the coffins must be manufactured with “the specifications contained in the UNE Standard 11-031-93”, where it indicates their tightness.
The text promulgated by the embassy ends: “Only when the gap between Muslims who give al-Islam (the territory of Islam) and the dar al-harb (territories inhabited by infidels) will disappear or is diluted will they feel fully Integrated in the common host house. Meanwhile, there are problems and tensions on both sides – Muslims and Muslim immigrants – either because we do not want to grant them what they claim, because they do not want to accept what we offer them or because they want to deliver or receive something under conditions other than those expected on the other hand”. He adds: “An element for full social rooting lies in the funeral pretensions of Muslims.”
The Community insists that they have received no complaints or petitions about the burials of Muslims after the change had taken place in the only Muslim cemetery in the community, that of Griñón, which went from being managed anarchically to be by the Consistory. Since then, the bodies are buried in watertight zinc coffins, but with the body surrounded by earth and in contact with it, as marked by Islamic law.
The City Council, for its part, informs that its intention is “to respect diversity”. They consider the extension of the burials to the Muslim community as a further service of the funeral home. The change will be made within a few months, when the Joint Funeral Services Company returns to the Consistory.