Monday, May 2, 2011

Bin Laden's body cleansed before sea burial - World news - Death of bin Laden -

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 01: People celebrate in the...Image by Getty Images via @daylife
Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden was buried at sea from the deck of a U.S. aircraft carrier in the north Arabian Sea after being washed according to Islamic custom during a religious funeral, a U.S. defense official said Monday.
"Preparations for at-sea burial began at 1:10 a.m. EST and were completed at 2 a.m. EST," the official said. "Traditional procedures for Islamic burial were followed."
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The official described the procedure to NBC News as follows:
  • The deceased's body was washed and then placed in a white sheet.
  • The body was placed in a weighted bag.
  • A military officer read prepared religious remarks that were translated into Arabic by a native speaker.
  • After the words were complete, the body was placed on a prepared flat board, tipped up, whereupon the deceased's body eased into the sea from the USS Carl Vinson.
The rites sparked a debate about Islamic customs, with some Muslim clerics calling the procedure humiliating and others saying it was proper.
A U.S. official said that the burial decision was made after concluding that it would have been difficult to find a country willing to accept the remains. There also was speculation about worry that a grave site could have become a rallying point for militants.
President Barack Obama said the remains had been handled in accordance with Islamic custom, which requires speedy burial.

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